Tatenda Sibanda is an Actuarial Mathematics student in the School of Physical Sciences. Over the summer she chose to take part in the Chinese language summer school at the University’s joint venture institution in China, Xi’an Jiatong Liverpool University (XJTLU):
“Studying abroad in China has definitely been the best choice I made this year. I took part in the Chinese language summer school at Xi’an Jiatong Liverpool University in Suzhou. Participating in a study abroad programme was not something I had initially planned on doing when I came to university, but after attending the study abroad fair and talking to a friend who had participated in a year abroad in China, it became a very appealing idea.
“I left Manchester airport in July with a group of other University of Liverpool students to embark on my journey. Travelling to a different continent not to mention a city where I didn’t know anyone was exciting but nerve-wracking experience. The next few weeks turned out to be truly amazing, not only did I learn a lot about the Chinese language and culture, but I also learnt a lot about myself, got to travel and made some great friends.
“I took the four-week Chinese language and culture intensive course and I am astonished at just how much I learned in such a short period of time. We had very good teachers who made sure the lessons were interactive enabling us to improve our speaking quickly and easily use what we had learnt when communicating with people whilst shopping and sight-seeing. In the afternoon, we took part in different cultural activities including calligraphy, martial arts, Chinese cooking and a traditional Chinese costumes show.
“It wasn’t all work – we also had a lot of time to travel, and with the help of our mentors who were current XJTLU students, we managed to plan trips in and out of Suzhou. The course was structured so that we had language classes in the morning so after classes we had time to explore .Suzhou is a beautiful city and on weekdays I spent my afternoons exploring its classical lush gardens and museums. During the weekends I didn’t have any activities on campus so I travelled to other cities including Shanghai and Hangzhou. The best part for me was trying out the different cuisines – the food was affordable, authentic and very diverse.
“The experience has definitely enhanced my university experience by broadening my horizons and allowing me to diversify my thoughts and values. I was not only able to learn about the Chinese culture but also different cultures as there were people from many all over the world taking part in the programme. I only wish that I had planned my travels slightly better by incorporating more time to travel to the North of China after the summer school.
“I would definitely recommend the study abroad experience to others. You get to travel and experience a different culture as well as getting the chance to enhance the value of your degree. I’ve got no doubt that it will give me a boost when it comes to tackling the jobs market!”
Each year more than 250 students from the University choose to go and study abroad at one of our partner universities across the globe as part of their degree programme.
For further details about Study Abroad or to find out more about the new Year In China programme, please visit the Study Abroad Website.