In May, a delegation from UCL’s Provost Office and the Students’ Union UCL visited Shanghai, Beijing and Wuhan in China to meet future students and explore potential opportunities for partnership with Chinese higher education institutions.

Members of our delegation included Activities & Engagement Officer Aria Xingni Shi and Postgraduate Officer Issy Smith.

Aria: Throughout my tenure, I have been keen to explore new ways in which we can engage our international students.

Here at UCL, there are more than 15,000 Chinese students, 400+ Chinese staff, and there are 30,000+ UCL alumni across China.

Therefore, building strong ties with China and developing mutually beneficial projects with Chinese institutions can be incredibly impactful.

Supporting international students

Issy: I think we could do so much more to ease the transition for our international students entering not only London, but university life. This trip was one small step to improving the way we support our international students, particularly our large underrepresented Chinese demographic.

Aria: During our visit, we had the pleasure of meeting over a thousand prospective students across the three events. We highlighted the services and opportunities for students available via the Students’ Union, as well as providing more information on how they could “hit the ground running,” when they arrive in London.

Issy: Something that stuck with me was the opportunity to speak to prospective students at the offer holder events and their contagious enthusiasm.

It was also amazing to speak to student leaders at Fudan University, who were energetic and inspiring. I hope that we can develop meaningful partnerships that will expand the number and range opportunities for our students, and really make our university global.

Aria: Better understanding of other people’s backgrounds and unique culture can definitely bridge gaps and strengthen ties. Through building and supporting these connections, we have the power to truly enrich our different student communities here at UCL.

Exploring China

Issy: China itself was amazing. Not only did we have great food, but we also met a lot of lovely, welcoming people in each of the cities we visited, and got to see some of the famous sights in Beijing.

Food-wise both Fudan University and Shanghai Jiao Tong University student affairs teams hosted fantastic lunches, with Fudan taking us for a classic Southern China lunch – dim sum.

We also had the opportunity to have real Peking duck in Beijing and hot pot at Haidilao in Wuhan.

The most incredible experience however was being able to walk along the Great Wall of China – it is  not as flat as you would think along the top and very hot (so it was quite the workout), but the views and historical significance were unmatched!