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Engineering students from two Chinese universities are taking part in a three-month research programme at the University of Chester.

Building upon the success of recent University visiting programmes from students at Chinese universities, the Faculty of Science and Engineering at Thornton and the University’s Business Research Institute China Centre (BRICC) have been working in partnership to host 25 visiting students from China. They are from Shaanxi University of Science and Technology, and Xi'an Technological University. As part of the course, students have been taking part in lab-based research at Thornton, as well as attending lectures in innovation and entrepreneurship, English language, and presentation skills at the Business Research Institute China Centre on the University’s Riverside Campus.

The visiting students have also had the chance to meet University of Chester students to gain a deeper understanding of higher education in the UK, especially in the context of science.

Dr Paul Folan, Head of the Department of Mechanical Engineering, said: “It is great to see engineering students from Shaanxi University of Science and Technology, and Xi'an Technological University at the Thornton Science Park Campus. I would like to thank my colleague, Associate Professor Yu Shi for his role in organising this visit. The visiting students have enthusiastically participated in many aspects of university life on the Campus, from sitting-in on engineering lectures, and collaborating with other students, to working on engineering projects in many niche areas, bringing their own expertise to new and unfamiliar problems. This is a great endeavour that we are happy to support. The Thornton experience has been positively enriched for our current students, and our visitors seem to be enjoying implementing their engineering skills in a beneficial way in the UK.”

This is the latest in a series of short term visiting programmes led by the Business Research Institute/China Centre (BRICC), where the University of Chester has received students from more than 15 Chinese universities for up to six months of studies at Chester. As of April 2019, BRICC has received over 150 Chinese visiting students from different disciplines, including Business and Management, Engineering, Music, Education and Computer Science. The key partners include South China Normal University, Guangxi Normal University, Dalian Minzu University and South Central University of Nationalities.

Professor Phil Harris, Executive Director of BRICC, said: “Our visiting programmes have had a very positive impact on the University community, and enrich our teaching and research collaboration opportunities, which all contribute to enhancing Chester’s international competitiveness. Our partnership has also been recognised regionally recently, when we won the International Partnership Award at the Educate North Awards last month.”

The visiting programme has also received excellent feedback from Chinese students:

Da'en Huang said: “My experience has been excellent. Not only did I get the chance to experience student life in the UK, I also had the opportunity to engage with the wider community by participating in all sort of cultural activities...  I wouldn’t want to change a thing if I was to start this all over again.

Wenxia Wang said: “I found it hard to adapt when I first arrived. Staying with a host family, with a different study style, different food etc, everything was so different from home.  It’s when I look back now I can see how much I’ve experienced and learnt. It’s such a challenging and yet rewarding experience.

Dr Wing Lam, Director of the China Centre at the University of Chester, added: “The way the Chinese market is developing, we are confident that there is growing demand for these bespoke programmes, so it is important that we are experienced, well prepared, and that we stay ahead of the game. In fact, students have enjoyed the programmes so much that some have expressed an interest in coming back to Chester to pursue their doctoral degrees. As of April 2019, three PhD offers have been made to former visiting students!”

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