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Monday 8 June 2015

Promoting partnership with China during staff visits

Southampton Solent University lecturers John Holder and Joanne Hooker recently visited China to further relationships with some key Chinese institutions. As well as a number of meetings in Shanghai and Hefei province, they gave English language and business classes at Anhui Economic Management Institute, where it is common for students to move onto our business top-up degrees.

They also visited the Anhui Professional and Technical Institute of Athletics to discuss future potential in the area of football studies, which the Chinese government is now promoting. Their last engagement was at the Jiangsu Urban and Rural Construction College, where they were once again teaching students who may be coming to study top-up courses here in the UK.

We managed to catch up with John Holder to find out more about the trip:

What was your favourite thing about visiting China?

It is really hard to pick out one thing as so much was fascinating, but my overall impression is not one of austerity or repression. It was a bustling, progressive and hard-working nation that has a fascinating history and is keen to make a new future.

What stood out at the institutions you visited?

At first the  sheer size of campuses designed for thousands of students was impressive. The sites are innovatively planned and carefully managed not to be overwhelming and make good use of the environment. It is also reassuring to see that academics everywhere have the same priorities and challenges – our colleagues were also focused on outcomes and making sure that assessments were marked on time!

John Holder and Joanne Hooker meeting at Anhui Professional and Technical Institute of Athletics.

What was the purpose of the trip?

Threefold: to further existing contacts and relationships, develop links with new universities and promote BSc (Hons) Business Top-Up programmes. We also spent a day and a half teaching prospective top-up students at a partner college.

It was wonderful to give them a flavour of what lectures and studies at Solent would be like.

What did you come back with? 

Everything was eye-catching as it is such a different culture with its own long traditions. Although there was little time for shopping I did manage to get a few things: Chinese tea, of course, and a silk scarf as well as some chopsticks.

What was the weather like? Did you experience the infamous smog?

I had anticipated smog – everyone had said watch out for the grey days but we were lucky, it was mainly warm and sunny. I even got a touch of sun-burn on the Great Wall!

John and Joanne with staff at Anhui Professional and Technical Institute of Athletics.

Tell us about the people that you met.

All of our hosts were gracious and hospitable, but even in when we were out and about  I was very pleasantly surprised as we were greeted with friendliness and smiles all the time. It was interesting to see that the Chinese were very pleased by the fact that I could use chopsticks!

The first question the students all asked  was “do you like China” and although​ it was hard to answer having just arrived it was also easy to say “yes”, as the whole experience was very positive.

What exciting things do you have planned going forward?

There are great things afoot for several of the new schools: our trip has forged an exciting new link for the School of Sport, Health and Social Sciences, whilst in the School of Business and Law there are opportunities for exchanges for outgoing students, language courses for incoming students as well as a lot of interest in both business and construction top-up programmes.

To find out more about studying on a BSc (Hons) Business Top-Up Programme here at Southampton Solent University, please visit our course search page or book a place on an open day.