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China-UK educational exchanges mutually beneficial / by Wu Jin, March 21, 2017 Adjust font size:

A promotional event by the University of Hertfordshire (UH) at the British ambassador's residence in Beijing on March 17 highlighted the importance of mutual benefits for the university and its Chinese partners.

Julie Newlan, pro vice-chancellor of the University of Hertfordshire. [Photo / Courtesy of UH Beijing Office] 

In a press briefing, UH Pro Vice-chancellor Julie Newlan said, "We have our philosophy that both benefit. We are enormously dedicated to working with the Chinese universities and that's why our relations are good."

UH is a comprehensive university providing the highest graduate employability of over 96 percent across the U.K. last year. Newlan attributed the success to the university's teaching approach to inspire an entrepreneurial spirit among its graduates.

Known as the birthplace for the world's first jet airliner for commercial use, the Comet, UH maintains its tradition as a university with strong technical research and development capabilities, offering cutting-edge technologies of aerospace, pilot studies, automotive simulators and wind tunnels.

Felix Zhu, associate dean of Engineering at UH, said every Formula One Grand Prix team in the world hires at least one graduate from the university's engineering school.

Its strong engineering capabilities has enabled the UH to extend its cooperation with Chinese counterparts, as exemplified by their latest partner — China University of Petroleum (CUP) in Qingdao and Dongying of Shandong Province.

In their exchange program, the students from the computing and engineering schools of CUP will be admitted two years ahead of graduation to UH, located close to London.

"We are both highly competitive in the engineering sector," said Wang Tianhu, president of the College of Distance Education, CUP, "and that is the major reason for us to choose UH when searching for overseas partners."

Wang said the increasing exchanges among students and faculty with UH in a close-knit community with shared labs and academic achievements will accelerate the internationalization drive of CUP.

Last year, UH recruited about 400 Chinese students and the figure is expected to expand this year. Stuart Smith, UH's head of international cooperative programs, said the arrival of Chinese students not merely entails changes in the class make-up, but also bring in the Chinese language, culture and festive celebrations to the benefit of British students.

Creative arts could be another sector that witnesses the UH's endeavor to look for appropriate partners among Chinese universities. The British university has been cooperating with the Tianjin Academy of Fine Arts (TAFA) where, each year, around 40 Chinese students are provided with access to the school of creative arts in UH

The school's educational conceptions fit well with the percepts of TAFA, said Li Zhiqiang, a national-level artist and a professor at TAFA, adding: "Artists should give priority to thoughts rather than techniques as the latter should always serve the needs of the former."

Li also emphasized that in spite of differences, the exchange between the two schools are based on mutual respect for each other's distinctive history and culture.