Posted on Thursday, 10 August 2017 at 12pm
by Lifelong Learning Centre Staff.
The following is a guest post by Roland Maposa, a mature student about to start his final year studying full-time on our BA Professional Studies programme.
I would like to thank the LLC Opportunities Fund for enabling me to travel to the 2017 ‘Entrepreneurship in China’ International Summer School in Hangzhou. The summer school was attended by 37 students from 19 different universities, totalling 17 different nationalities. I felt supported by both staff from the Lifelong Learning Centre and the Leeds Study Abroad Office, especially when complications arose. The administrative team for the Summer School in China were also very helpful despite the time difference, and I was able to apply for a visa through the Chinese Consulate in Manchester (which I had to attend in person in order to provide fingerprints). Upon arrival in Hangzhou, there were student volunteers at the registration desk in the hotel we were staying at and the same students picked us up to show us the way to the venue the next morning.
We stayed in the Zijingang International Hotel as part of the programme provision. I was in a shared room with a student of Chinese heritage, whose help and support (mostly as a translator) proved invaluable during my time in Hangzhou. We got on rather well, given our age difference. The academic content of the summer school was pretty robust. We had a total of nine lectures and two language classes, three company visits and four cultural visits. The company visits provided a fascinating insight into how business operates in China. The lectures, which were delivered in English, offered different entrepreneurial perspectives on ‘Doing Business in China’ (DBIC) and the teaching staff were very engaging. The culmination of the programme was the submission of a business plan together with a pitch on the final day. An official transcript from Zhejiang University was given to us at the end along with a certificate of completion (I achieved a mark of 80).
The weekend cultural trip was the only excursion to incur an extra cost (Y300.00). Outside of the official programme there was plenty of time to see some of Hangzhou’s other sights. The city is an internal tourist destination, with Chinese nationals from all over the country traveling there. I understood this first hand after receiving many requests along the lines of ‘‘can we take a picture or selfies?’’ a fascinating experience to begin with but wearing towards the end of the visit! Eating in the university canteen cost less than Y20, although eating elsewhere cost a minimum of Y30. The buses cost Y2-4 per trip and were quite an experience! Cash is king in China (for foreigners), while locals prefer Alipay.
China, I found, was a place of contrasts – everywhere you look there is a juxtaposition. I felt very safe during my time there and spoke to many students who shared common expectations from their degrees. Everyone was shocked when they heard my age (I think this was complementary) however, a few did say I gave them hope that as serious as they needed to take life should anything happen everything would be ok, something my experience attests to.
I was impressed by what I saw in China, particularly by the summer school programme. I would recommend the experience to anyone wanting to explore and understand doing business in China. I sincerely thank the LLC Opportunities Fund for affording me the funds to access this opportunity fully. The experience will inform my career options and I can say I now understand the importance of China as the world’s second biggest economy.