Study China Programme - Manchester University
What is it?
The Study China Programme is a 3 week trip to China, based at a University in one of Shanghai, Zhejiang, Nanjing or Shandong (or Beijing in my case). The programme includes Mandarin lessons, lessons in a module of your choice (dependant on the University) that is taught in English and some trips to major tourist sites depending on where you’re based. I went to the Great Wall, Peking Opera and an acrobatic show.
How is it funded?
It’s partially funded by the British Government so you only fund flights, visa, food and other trips/excursions/travelling you have in mind but the programme costs, accommodation and some trips/food are paid for! There are bursaries available to help pay for these extra costs and some universities also have funding so check there too. A friend of mine had part of her costs subsidised in exchange for her writing a blog whilst on the trip so it’s definitely worth asking your University.
Why I chose to apply
Everyone has different reasons for applying, mine were that I wanted to experience China whilst its economy is growing at such an exponential rate, as well as testing the waters for a future study abroad experience. I also had some Mandarin lessons over the summer and what better place to test them? I had the option of Beijing or Shanghai and I knew that there would be enough things to do there, and that I wanted to visit all of the big tourist attractions if I went. I also wanted to learn more about China’s economy and being offered the Economics module was another reason. A final reason was the employability I would potentially get, as I’d improve my language, knowledge of economics and a whole host of interpersonal skills.
How it helped me
As the programme is only 3 weeks I decided that if I couldn’t handle 3 weeks abroad then I wouldn’t last a few months. It was a good test to see if I could manage in a foreign country, with a different language and hardly anyone I knew there. It has definitely helped my Mandarin and improved my confidence, as I made lots of friends there really quickly and it’s amazing how you bond over those 3 weeks which has made me consider a year abroad in the future. The weather was another factor, as I was based in Beijing over Christmas, where it is freezing. It hardly ever was above 0C so now being able to cope with that is a plus for future travels.
How it can help you
If you’re not sure if studying abroad for an entire year is for you, this is the programme to apply for. An interest in China and its culture, economy and food are also useful as being there gives you a first-hand experience of everything and you get to meet liked-minded people and looks good on the application. For non-linguists, it also gives you the basics of Mandarin, and many of my friends on the programme are taking the HSK 1 test this year to prove that they have basic Mandarin skills, and that they are willing to learn a new language if needs be. If China isn’t your desired place, there is a Study India Programme too, which is run in the same format but in India and with less focus on studying as you are not based at University (from what I know, I haven’t been so I am not much help).
For more details or questions check out my blog :)