New opportunities for LSBU students to study and work in ChinaLondon South Bank University was this week host to the British Council's Experience China Fair, part of the wider Generation UK campaign, which aims to see at least 15,000 UK students participate in academic study or work experience programmes in China by 2016.
A total of 14 Chinese universities set up booths in the Keyworth Centre, where LSBU students had the chance to interact with representatives from various institutions, and find out about the internship opportunities in the country set to soon have the world's largest economy.
Students also had the chance to attend panel discussion sessions, which explored current opportunities for UK students to study and work in China. Chaired by Jazreel Goh, Director for Education Marketing at the British Council China, the panellists took questions from the 100+ strong audience and offered insight on their own experiences of working and studying in China.
The fair was opened with welcome addresses delivered by Shen Yang, Minister Counsellor of the Embassy of the People's Republic of China in the United Kingdom; Bev Jullien, Pro Vice Chancellor (External) at LSBU; Cheng Jiacai Deputy Director of the Chinese Service Center for Scholarly Exchange, and Jazreel Goh, Director of Education Marketing at the British Council China.
Opportunities for LSBU students
With business and leaders and government officials in the UK increasingly emphasizing the importance of young people in the UK expanding their understanding of China, universities are now increasing the opportunities available to students to take advantage of the cultural, linguistic and professional opportunities the country has to offer.
In recent years, LSBU has already considerably expanded its opportunities for students to take advantage of the possibilities and benefits of studying and gaining work experience in China. In 2012, the MBA in Chinese Business Practice was introduced, which sees students spend one semester studying and learning Mandarin in China – and to further help students boost their employability, October 2013 saw the University launch the 'Careers in China Clinic', which offers students advice on study, internship and graduate opportunities available.
"We offer Mandarin support, cultural courses and advice on the opportunities and most importantly how to get funding for them", explains Lara Martin, Deputy Director of the Confucius Institute at LSBU.
"We are seeing British graduates succeed and thrive in China – we are in touch with Chinese companies who are eager to employ western graduates and Chinese Universities have a wide selection of scholarships to offer."
"I have been involved with China for over 15 years and there has never been a better time for students to take advantage of all the opportunities available in China", Lara adds.
2011/12 saw 120 LSBU students travel to China on various scholarships and the Confucius Institute - the only exam centre in Europe to offer the HSK exam on a monthly basis - currently has 150 students studying for the exam, which tests Chinese proficiency of non-native speakers.
Introducing the China Internship Programme
Further increasing the opportunities for undergraduate and postgraduate students to gain work experience in China, the Confucius Institute for TCM at LSBU has now launched the China Internship Programme, which gives students the chance to spend 2 months as an intern in China, where they can gain experience as a teacher or in an industry relating to their course.
Nicholas Pitt spent almost two years on various internships in China before securing a job as Project Manager for the Confucius Institute at LSBU:
"Interning in China is certainly a rewarding challenge, you learn about many different kinds of people and cultures in the world that differ from your own. However, it is hard to truly understand this until you actually experience these differences for yourself", Nicholas explains.
"I was a marketing Intern at 3 companies during my time in Beijing and learned a lot during my time in each company, and was given the opportunity of permanent employment at each company. A large element in Chinese culture and business culture is networking, this was a fantastic opportunity for me to network and gain friends and also business contacts in my area of work, contacts I am still in contact with today in my current position", he adds.
Students wishing to get advice on how to gain work experience or study scholarships in China can visit the new Careers in China Clinic every Wednesday from 2 - 4pm in the Student Centre.
Find out more about the Confucius Institute for Traditional Chinese Medicine (CITCM) and the HSK exam