Global partnership provides solution to international travel challenge

September 30th, 2020

Chinese students unable to travel to America to begin or continue their studies have been given a helping hand thanks to the University of Nottingham Ningbo.

UNNC has partnered with the University of Connecticut (UConn), USA, to host new and returning students challenged by the pandemic travel restrictions.

The students were the option of completing UConn online study or temporarily transferring to a partner university in their home country – in this case either East China Normal University (Shanghai) or UNNC.

UConn and UNNC have collaborated on the full recruitment cycle, from announcement, applications, admission, billing, course registration, and accommodation.

There are now 43 students registered at Ningbo, and the arrangement has received positive press coverage in China.

Of these 43 students, 34 are new and nine are returning UConn students. The students are initially set to spend only the first semester at Ningbo, but this may be extended depending on the changing global response to the coronavirus.

While at UNNC, the students will be registered as Study Abroad students and join the orientation programme along with other Ningbo students. During the coming semester the UConn students will study at the Centre for English Language Education, which will equip them with the language, study skills, and foundation-level content knowledge they will need to meet the demands of future academic courses. The students will also receive support from professional service departments and are eligible join more than 100 student clubs and societies during their stay at UNNC.

Students have found the experience a positive step in enabling them to complete their degree programmes.

Siheng Ren, a year three student, said that he opted to study at UNNC because he liked the international style of education.

Nancy Cheng, a first year student said she valued the English teaching environment. She said: “Teaching and learning activities here are all conducted in English, which makes me feel confident that I won’t be disoriented once I’m back at UCONN.”

Zehua Sun, a second-year student has already joined the skateboarding club. He said: “Life here at UNNC is quite similar to UCONN. The two universities both have internationally diverse student population and dynamic campus culture.”

The agreement forms part of a wider tri-campus partnership discussion currently underway spanning the Faculty of Arts, Faculty of Social Sciences, UNM School of Biosciences, and UNNC Faculty of Science and Engineering. Significant synergies have been identified with the potential for a number of research and teaching collaborations between the two institutions. There are also opportunities for tripartite collaborations with UConn and the University of Granada, University College Dublin, and Universidad de la Habana.

Additionally, academics from Nottingham and UConn are participating in an online panel discussion in October to coincide with Black History Month in the UK to address the subject of the role formal education has played in the cultivation of racism, and how universities in the UK and USA can work together to decolonise our curricula.

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