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Study China Programme

The British Government Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills (DIUS), now renamed BIS, announced in March 2007 the decision to fund an annual China HE Summer School Programme for UK undergraduates to encourage outward student mobility.

Bill Rammel, then Higher Education Minister said “this Government is committed to encouraging more students to spending time abroad as part of their studies to equip them with the skills and awareness necessary to live and work effectively in the global economy. It is especially important that UK students engage with China with its massive global importance.

“Increased educational collaboration between the UK and China will be of mutual benefit to both countries. Summer schools will provide significant numbers of our students with exposure to China very cost effectively.”

The first programme was run in Beijing in 2007 with two groups of a total of 200 students from 55 English universities spending three weeks at Beijing Normal University, followed by a larger group of 220 students at East China Normal University in Shanghai during the Easter 2008. In the summer of 2008, the programme was held at two provincial cities of Jinan and Hangzhou hosted by Shandong and Zhejiang universities. The programme was successfully held again at Beijing and Jinan of Shandong province in 2009.

The majority of participants find this experience an eye opener. They see opportunities to work and study in China as well as doing China-related study and work in the UK. Some have returned to China working as English language teachers and others are studying at the hosting universities to improve their Chinese for their postgraduate study. One of the participants received Arts Council funding to spend one month at a Beijing gallery as resident artist to develop his work.

The programme is now open to all English, Scottish and Northern Ireland universities. In recognition to its high social impact, BIS decided to fund the project till 2011.

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