Written by Guest blogger
My experience as an international student in BU couldn’t have been better. I got chosen to be one of 13 students from different faculties and study levels (Undergraduate and Postgraduate) to represent BU in its inaugural Global Festival of Learning 2016. In China. For two weeks! All costs covered! Whoah!
The programme itself is called Destination China Summer School 2016, with SIAS International University as the partner. The majority of the itinerary was spent in SIAS University; where we had the chance to learn Chinese culture, history, language, as well as business and economy in China. They provided us with exciting practical activities so we could still have fun while learning about contemporary China in a short time.
We spent the first few days in Beijing exploring the historical & cultural sites such as Tian’anmen Square, Forbidden City and The Great Wall of China. As for the industry visit, we visited Xiaomi Headquarter to gain an insight on how this company could become the largest smartphone vendor in China within less than six years. We also visited Foxconn, the world’s largest technology manufacturer, and St. James’s Place Wealth Management, which was keen to take placement and graduate students to work in their company.
On the fourth day, we took a bullet train from Beijing to Zhengzhou, where SIAS International University is located. I was amazed with the size of the university and the friendliness of the people there. SIAS has arranged a buddy for each of us which was very helpful in maximising our experience in China, as they act as a SIAS ambassador, translator, local guide, and also a best friend!
My favourite activities during the summer school were the language class, paper cutting, Kung Fu lesson, and the campus tour (by electric bike!). I particularly loved the language class because I’m very keen on learning Mandarin. The teacher was very patient teaching us the basic and important phrases, which helped me a lot when I went shopping in the market 😀
Yes, the university is way too big to be explored by foot. That is why our buddies organised this fun way to introduce all the facilities on-campus they have. This picture below was taken INSIDE the university during our bike ride. Amazing.
I was also impressed with our accommodation in the university. We were allocated to stay in 3-bedrooms flat which has spacious lounge and fully air-conditioned. Not to mention there is a walking closet inside my bathroom. We lived like a royal for a week!
Another unforgettable memory during our Summer School was the friendly basketball match between BU and SIAS students. Seeing the fact that BU team got beaten by SIAS (they are all professional players); the Chairman of SIAS, Dr. Shawn Chen, joined the match on behalf of BU to help us gaining some scores. He also invited our Vice-Chancellor, Professor John Vinney, to play along. As he was not prepared for the game, SIAS staff bought a brand new basketball shoes for him. It was indeed a very rare occasion!
We spent our last couple of days in Shanghai, which is a stunning metropolitan city in China. We visited The Oriental Pearl TV Tower and enjoyed the view of The Bund from the observatory deck.
My overall impression about this summer school is simply fantastic. I have not only gained new knowledge about contemporary China and perspective of life, but also stronger intercultural skills which I believe would be beneficial to me as a future global talent.
How did I get this opportunity?
Global Talent Programme participants had the privilege to receive an email notification about the opportunity when the application is open, which I immediately apply. I wrote around 300 words of supporting statement in regard to my interest in learning about China, how this activity will contribute to my professional development and how it will enhance my global awareness and intercultural competence.
By Yeyen Sinarta
MSc Tourism Management and Marketing