LSBU student travels to China for a trip filled with differenceLayla Adam knows the Harbin Summer School Programme, and a two-week trip to China, has helped her gain an edge in starting her career
Layla Adam has always been interested in learning new languages. "Whenever I have the chance to take language lessons that don't get in the way of my other studies, I tend to take them," she explains. "In sixth form, I studied French with the Open University and I have also studied Latin at secondary school"
I learned Mandarin in such a way that it was actually possible for me to have conversations with people while in China.Layla Adam, International Politics
When it came to studying Mandarin at the Confucius Institute, Layla was pleasantly surprised at how different the teaching was from her school languages. "It was a different way to learn a language, but very enjoyable." she says.
Trip to China
Layla had learned about the Confucius Institute when she saw a volunteer handing out leaflets on campus. After a conversation about the opportunities that were on offer to LSBU students, Layla decided that she wanted to learn Mandarin and visit China. She has since completed her HSK (Chinese language proficiency test preparation) I, II and III as well as undertaking a two-week trip to China.
Immersed in the culture
The trip itself was a real highlight for Layla, and gave her the opportunity to put what she had learned into practice. "The main thing is to have fun and enjoy yourself," she says. "It can be tempting to rely on the student volunteers to translate everything for you and visit places like KFC, McDonalds and Starbucks, but you will get much more out of the experience if you try to speak Chinese and immerse yourself into the culture."
Fabulous two weeks
Layla has very fond memories of her China visit, and is still in touch with some of the people she met as part of the exchange. "The whole trip was great," she says. "I had a fantastic time and I wish I could do it again. It was a fabulous two weeks, but I could happily have spent much more time in China had it been possible. I met some wonderful people ad enjoyed the chance to see how Chinese universities operate."
Back in the UK, Layla believes that her experience in the Harbin Summer School Programme continues to be of benefit to her in her studies and her career prospects.
"I am hoping to get a job in an international organisation such as the UN, so the cultural understanding and experience I gained from the trip could be very useful when it comes to starting my career," she says.