UCL News


Students savour taste of life in China

29 September 2009


calligraphy ucl.ac.uk/prospective-students/international/countries/east-asia/china" target="_self">Study China
  • UCL Global - China
  • UCL International Office
  • Two UCL undergraduates have described how a summer exchange programme helped to broaden their horizons.

    Rishika Savjani and Arvin Mahanta spent three weeks in the Far East as part of the Study China programme.

    Study China is a UK government-funded three-week programme that gives students an opportunity to learn about the country's language and culture.

    Rishika (Economics) and Arvin (History of Art) were among the five UCL students who took part in the programme this summer.

    The students flew out to one of two host institutions, Shandong University in Shandong Province and Nanjing University in Jiansu Province.

    Their varied itinerary included a visit to the Peking Opera, lectures in Confucianism and introductions to the ancient Chinese arts of calligraphy and kite making.

    Rishika, who studies Mandarin as part of her degree, applied for the programme because she wanted to practise the language.

    She said: "I wanted to learn more about Chinese culture and way of life, and felt that there was no better way to immerse myself than to spend three weeks at a Chinese university.

    "As an economics student I am fascinated by China's development and another reason for visiting China was to witness this development first hand and to form my own opinions of the Chinese economy.

    "Having returned from the trip, it was very clear that China is a country of two economies. There are places such as Shanghai that are so developed that at first glance the city could be anywhere in the world.

    "Yet there are other places that are so distinctively Chinese and traditional. The trip made me question if this gap would ever close, and if so, would China begin to lose its identity?"

    Arvin, who was based at Nanjing University, said the programme had given him a structured way to experience Chinese life.

    He also took part in a wide range of activities and excursions, including Mandarin lessons, lectures, and classes in Chinese art forms such as Tai chi, calligraphy, painting, and martial arts.

    He said: "I intended to gain a basic understanding of Mandarin and expose myself to as much of the Chinese culture as possible. I wanted to learn and experience as much as possible with people of the same mindset as myself.

    "Looking back, I fulfilled all of these aspirations, which made the programme a hugely beneficial experience for me personally. I had an amazing time and would recommend the programme to any student."

    For more information about the Study China programme follow the link above.

    Image: Chinese calligraphy