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UCLan students experience a special ‘Journey to the East’

Students from UCLan’s School of Business immersed themselves in the wonders of Chinese culture and the modern Chinese education system whilst visiting the Guizhou University in Guiyang and the Zunyi Tsinghua High School in Zunyi, both located within the Guizhou Province in China.

Six undergraduates, who study in UCLan’s Division of Communication, Marketing and Public Relations, joined Senior Lecturer Peter Ashfield for a 10-day visit to Guizhou Province in China. With a population of over 35 million it was going to be a whole new experience. The ‘Journey to the East’ trip was supported by the International Travel Bursary.

This is the fourth ‘Journey to the East’ trip undertaken by UCLan and already the planning for J2E5 in 2018 is underway. During this year’s trip UCLan students joined up with students from Guizhou University and engaged in cultural, educational and business activities. A Chinese paper cutting class, language classes and visiting a museum were all highlights of the trip. In addition, different Chinese martial arts were explored and a number of formal traditional Chinese lunches and dinners were enjoyed and the students were fascinated with Chinese eating etiquette. The students also visited the Zunyi Tsinghua secondary school in Zunyi City which is a feeder school for the Guizhou University and met young students and shared classes and experiences of life in the UK. 

They also visited the Zunyi Conference building which was where a meeting of the Communist Party of China in January 1935 during the Long March took place, considered by many to be the point of creation for modern China: the museum visit was a very humbling experience. To round things off, the students also delivered an impromptu rendition of Justin Beiber’s hit song ‘Baby’ in front of a large audience of honoured guests to finish off an exhilarating and learned week.

The students were selected as part of a School of Business and School of Management initiative orchestrated by Mohamed Parker. Potential students completed an application form and were then invited for an interview. In total 34 students from across both Schools were chosen, of which six were selected to visit Guizhou and the remaining students visited other Chinese universities. The students were selected based on their commitment to make a positive contribution to the trip whilst also making a commitment to developing their understanding and learning of Chinese business and culture.

The six students were: Yashin Comrie, Emily Harris, Harriet Hartley, Jimmy Hoang, Nathan Meall and Navin Persaud.

Alison Lucas, Acting Head of the School of Business, said: “Study field trips, particularly those to China, help our students to broaden their perspectives and engage with activities which really bring to life those things discussed and learned in the classroom. Many of our students will work within international businesses in their careers, so J2E helps them understand culture from a very practical perspective.”

A J2E student sums up the experience:
Yashin Comrie: "My highlight of the trip was when we attended the high school in Zunyi.  That experience was amazing and the reception that we received was unbelievable, I loved every minute of it especially when we performed on stage. What I learned about myself is that I love the Chinese culture and that I am very adaptable to a new lifestyle, I also feel as if I can pick things up a lot quicker. I also learned that I absolutely love the Chinese atmosphere and how friendly the people are. What I learnt about China is that put meaning into more or less everything and that, nothing is done just for the sake of it and that they value practically everything that they do. They invest in themselves from as soon as they are born; like how we were told that they sometimes learn a new language alongside their mother tongue in primary school throughout the years to help them with any future decisions. Also, some of the strict laws and legislation that they implement into China actually benefit a lot of the Chinese people to push themselves to be the best they can be."

For more information contact Peter Ashfield, Senior Lecturer in Business and Marketing, School of Business, UCLan PAshfield@uclan.ac.uk Tel: 01772 894667