Learning Mandarin is boosting students’ employability
Brought up speaking both English and Arabic, Osman Ahmed firmly believes that a good knowledge of languages is a hugely important asset in today's global economy
He's a man with a strong desire to travel and work internationally. As a student on our BA (Hons) Business Administration, Osman's education has only served to underline the importance of being able to work in a global setting.
My interest in Chinese language and culture stems from my desire to work and travel internationally.
It was during his first year of study at LSBU that Osman became aware of the work of LSBU's Confucius Institute, and the possibility of spending some time in China practising Mandarin and experiencing the country first hand. "The chance to learn Mandarin and then build on it whilst actually living in China was one of the main reasons I applied for the Harbin Summer School programme," he says.
Prior to the trip, Osman attended classes with fellow Harbin Summer School scholarship applicants where he met Chinese teachers from Harbin Normal University. He learned about Chinese culture, including food, music, literature and calligraphy to prepare him for the trip.
A unique experience
"It was an amazing experience," he recalls. "Walking up the Great Wall of China was perhaps the most memorable moment, but to be immersed in the culture was incredible. Interacting with the local people was a truly new experience – lots of them wanted their photograph taken with me and I enjoyed every moment of being in China."
Osman believes he learned a lot from his visit to China. In particular, he feels he learned the importance of having an open mind when meeting new people and learning about cultures different to his own. "The trip gave me the ability to accept and appreciate how diverse the world is, and it gave me a new aim: to encourage and enable others to reach the same outlook through the experience of travelling."
Osman also thinks that his experience will help boost his career prospects. He'll be able to show prospective employees he has an international perspective and multicultural awareness and sensitivity. Having the ability to communicate in another language is another definite boost to his CV."
Osman's love affair with the Chinese language and culture doesn't end here, however. After graduation, he hopes to continue learning Chinese, and aims to secure an internship with Generation UK to work in China during the summer of 2014 in a human resources management field.