AIT Celebrates Lucky ‘Year of the Ox’ Virtually

AIT students and staff rang in the lucky ‘Year of the Ox’ virtually on Thursday, 11 February with a special Zoom celebration to mark Chinese New Year. One of the most important holidays in the Chinese calendar – akin to Christmas in the West – Chinese New Year is a cultural celebration with a rich and storied history.

Each Chinese New Year is characterised by one of 12 animals which appear in the Chinese zodiac. This year is the Year of the Ox, which occupies the second position in the Chinese zodiac; people born in the Year of the Ox are thought to be positive, hardworking and honest.

Organised by the AIT Committee of the Asian and Chinese Societies, the evening of virtual entertainment kicked off with a talent show, followed by an introduction to Asian traditions of how to celebrate Chinese New Year, a demonstration of calligraphy, Chinese riddles and a cookery competition.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for students to connect virtually and share their customs and traditions at this special time of year,” AIT President Prof. Ciarán Ó Catháin said ahead of the celebrations. “We have long-standing relationships with many partner universities across China, and we are delighted to continue the tradition of celebrating Chinese New Year, albeit in a virtual capacity." He continued, "Much like Ireland, China places strong emphasis on family and community spirit during festive periods. It is always great to see people coming together to share their culture and experiences.”

China is by far AIT’s largest non-EU market. Since the launch of the Asia Strategy in 2000, AIT has facilitated the bilateral flow of students and staff between itself and its many partner institutes for the purposes of academic and cultural enrichment. This is achieved through the promotion of international study and placement opportunities, and international exchange programmes, highlighting the benefits of studying and working abroad.

The institute enjoys one of the highest approval ratings among Irish higher education institutes for Ministry of Education-approved bachelor’s degrees in China. There are currently six approved programmes in China across a range of disciplines, including software engineering, mechanical engineering, pharmaceutical sciences, graphic design, hotel management and civil engineering.

Among the universities with which AIT has developed significant partnerships are Beijing University of Technology, Capital University of Economics and Business, Dongbei University of Finance and Economics, East China University of Technology, Southeast University, Capital University of Physical Education, Chaohu University, Luoyang Institute of Science and Technology and Jianghan University.

In 2019, AIT also launched a joint institute with Wuxi Institute of Technology to cater for increased demand for engineering students. Students in the new joint institute are studying computer engineering, mechanical engineering, mechatronics, and software engineering degree programmes. There is potential to extend the co-operation between the two institutes to programmes in the areas of business, hospitality and tourism with the view to growing their respective tourism sectors.

Athlone Institute of Technology is a research-led third-level institute with an applied, industry-focused offering, world-class research and development capabilities, and state-of-the-art facilities. Winner of The Sunday Times Institute of the Year 2020 and 2018, AIT is Ireland’s top-ranked institute of technology and is on track to open its doors as the country’s third technological university in September 2021. AIT tops Ireland’s official league table for research and was listed in U-Multirank’s Top 25 Performing Universities in the World for Interdisciplinary Research in 2018 and 2019. For information relating to the institute’s undergraduate and postgraduate programmes, visit

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