Evaporating fears; Learning Chinese at Sun Yat-sen

Before completing this summer program at Sun Yat-sen University in China I felt that I would spend a lot of time studying business and language and not enough time experience China. Looking at the class timetable I felt that I did not have the time to put what I had learnt into practice. These fears however were evaporated upon my arrival at the university. We as students were allowed plenty of time to explore the city and practice our Mandarin Chinese skills to the locals. Additionally, the aid of having the buddy program at the university meant that we had English speaking Chinese students who could help us further in our language studies and who could further explain Chinese business thinking and culture. We all left this program with a better rounded understanding of contemporary China and the Chinese.

Additionally, prior to the course I felt that many of the students may not have much in common with eachother. This however was far from the case by having 15 UTS students. All of the other students in the course either came alone or in a pair of two, hence making friends and feeling a sense of belonging was far easier for the UTS students than it was for the others. By far the best thing on this course was due to the fact that there were so many UTS students. Moreover, all of the UTS students got on very well together. We were also very kind at ingratiating all of the other students, making sure that everyone was always invited to join us to where we would go out to. Additionally, having such a large group of UTS students made it easier for us to practice Mandarin together and write out group assignments, something we had to do in the final week.

This course was great fun and very informative. We all befriended many of the expats in the city of Guangzhou, making very useful and lasting connections between UTS and China. Sun Yat-sen University is also China’s most prestigious business university and so it is very useful to mention that I studied there on my CV.

I will be doing an international exchange to another city in China soon and so this program has given me the confidence and ability to thrive over there. I now have a great basis for Chinese Mandarin and have a better understanding of Chinese culture and business ethics. This course has greatly helped me for my future. It was a wonderful experience which I will never forget.

Henry Birtwistle

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