I have capitalised on my summer holiday by participating in Soochow University international programme (SCUIP). Soochow University is an AACSB accredited School of Business founded in 1900, the first western-style university in Taiwan.
These three weeks of intensive virtual learning was taught in English with various courses to choose from, both undergraduate and postgraduate courses. It was delivered smoothly through a well-organised virtual learning platform (Microsoft team) and a supportive team of student advisors. Meanwhile, participants can communicate in the group chat. I have chosen to study a stage three International marketing course. It was a relatively small class with a combination of undergraduate and postgraduate students from all disciplines. The course consisted of interactive lectures, tutorials, readings and assignments (a mid-term test + ten-minute group presentation). During this course, I have experienced Taiwanese culture and education and established a global network with lecturers and students.
One of the challenges was the time zone differences. The virtual course was taught based in the Taiwan time zone, which was five hours behind NZ time. However, there’s a degree of flexibility as Soochow University offers three sessions (morning, afternoon and evening), varying on your chosen course. Another challenge was that I had to prepare for a group presentation within a few days. It was very intensive as I was constantly learning new things in daily lectures while applying them to my presentation within a short timeframe. Meanwhile, the time zone differences also fostered a communication barrier between my team members worldwide. However, I have overcome these challenges and achieved excellent performance. I have gained better insights into international marketing and global business operations by the end of the course. Moreover, I learned some basic Japanese cultures and vocabulary through the weekly Japanese culture workshop extra-curricular activity hosted by Kansai University, which is in partnership with Soochow University.
Overall, it was a fantastic experience and I would definitely recommend students participate in this virtual international programme. I have harvested a lot of knowledge and skill within these three weeks. It has opened up broader perspectives and opportunities which would be beneficial for future careers. Lastly, thanks to The University of Auckland for providing me with the funding to attend this programme.
Modern technology is undergoing rapid development, yet it remains unnoticeable for people who do not keep an eye on these updates. NTU AI virtual programme provided me with the opportunity to witness the growth of the new technology – artificial intelligence – which seemed to be impossible to achieve decades ago.
Before attending this program, I thought AI was far beyond my limit and I will never get to understand how AI is built. Therefore, it was astonishing when the professors went through the working logic and processes of AI in the lecture. I now know that AI exists in so many ways which people might not be aware of. This includes but is not limited to, Apple’s Face ID, the identification of real or fake images, the phone camera auto-corrections, and VR and AR applications. There are so many applications we use in our daily life, but we never notice their uses of AI.
I think the program is interesting yet challenging. As I have no pre-knowledge and experience dealing with AI, I have to learn a completely new topic with lots of jargon. It became a struggle to keep up with the lectures as I often forgot some key points from the previous lectures. Yet later I decided to create my own notes and communicate with other students in the program. It is very helpful and interesting to receive responses to my questions and hear everyone’s insight and concerns. From this, I learnt more about staying focused and learn how to note-take. The key is to be efficient and use a short amount of time to record down anything that is important or worth knowing. As a result, I improved my time management skill by organizing my study timetable to spend my time wisely. This skill can be used for anything at any time, but it is especially helpful for studying. It helps me to use my time more efficiently so I can get more things done in a short time span, and use my spare time for other things.
As this is my first time doing a summer programme at The University of Auckland, I appreciate the return I got from this programme. I think knowledge is priceless and this is definitely a worthy experience for a long summer holiday. It is good to use this time to learn something we might have no time or courage to approach before. However, it is important to know that this programme is only enjoyable if you put effort into it as technology is complicated. Although the lectures had already been modified to make it easier for people to understand, the knowledge which you should learn still takes a lot of time and effort to digest. My suggestion is to consider this if it is something you are actually interested in and you are willing to sacrifice some of your time to learn. By doing so, you will get the most out of this programme.
Finally, I want to thank all the staff and professors who are involved in this programme. Although the programme was done virtually, it was still conducted nicely, and everyone was friendly and easy to approach. It was a pleasure for me to meet new people, gain valuable experience and enrich my summer holiday by choosing the NTU AI virtual programme.
Toulouse Business School Online Winter programme was an incredible opportunity to expand my international business knowledge and experience. I participated in the International Human Resource Management course to diversify my postgraduate business management study with a global component. An excellent online experience learning from experts and professional consultants based in France!
I enjoyed the interactive online lessons and practical content with students from multiple countries – Australia, Chile, Morocco, Indonesia and New Zealand! This mix of students and lecturers made the discussions and learning experience culturally rich. I loved learning about how each country’s natural culture influences business practices and how this must be a key consideration when exploring new international business opportunities. It was a two-week intensive course in Central European Time (CET) which consisted of interactive, live Zoom classes (Mon – Fri CET but Tues – Sat NZT) and four cultural / industry webinars with experts in the aviation & Occitane wine industry, work in France/ Europe and a virtual tour of Toulouse. This virtual tour was a creative way which felt like you were really immersed in the history, culture and environment of Toulouse (as close as it can be virtually).
The programme started with a virtual, informative and fun orientation via Zoom. The course staff were super helpful and responsive with easy to follow enrollment steps and learning management systems. The group project was one of my favourite aspects as I collaborated with students from Chile! It was an enriching experience as we shared about each other’s country, cultures, business practices, languages, education system, history and societal challenges. I even learnt some Spanish which was enlivening as a multilinguist. This demonstrates the amazing cross-cultural connections you can make. We also had a personal coaching session to consult about our presentation and report. The topics highlighted the significance of cross-cultural management, the importance of a global mindset and international socio-cultural awareness to be better positioned to comprehend and enact international business practices. A key learning was around HR Management practices in various nations, my group project was a great way to apply this in a practical way. The project focused on Italy, COVID-19, challenges with international business considerations and International HR recommendations for the scenario of an American aerospace company moving into the Italian business market. International collaboration, online presentation and case analysis skills relate to my current area of work and future goals of working in consulting or government.
One of the key challenges was around the timing. Classes were from 1-3AM NZT, expert webinars 11PM – 12AM NZT and group work sessions location dependant. Time zone differences with my team were tricky to navigate at first but once established worked well. It was difficult at times to stay awake/ wake up but the enthusiasm and genuine comradery with my lectures and classmates made it an enjoyable experience. It was worth the sacrifice of time and sleep for me as it was a fun challenge, exciting to be part of something new and was inspired to learn at a tertiary institute in France (albeit virtually) – a dream come true as a previous French major! This course is all taught in English so even if you haven’t learnt French before this will work well for you. I’d recommend having a reliable support system and plan in place for these two weeks to ensure you focus on your wellbeing while enjoying this virtual experience. Overall it was invigorating, fulfilling and intellectually stimulating course which I would highly recommend, not only to business students, as you can bring your own areas of expertise and see the connections international business has to almost any industry.
I have been fortunate enough to have had the opportunity to be apart of the 2021 cohort for the Diversity Abroad Global Inclusive Leadership virtual programme. The world around us as well as the people within it are constantly changing and the ways in which we can identify and express ourselves are evolving ever so rapidly. I decided to participate in this programme as I knew there was so much about the world that I was unaware of.
This course provides you with the opportunity to not only meet and become friends with fellow students from around the world, but it also teaches you how to best understand, utilise and embrace one’s differences. This course teaches you that there is no set and “correct” way of being a leader, but that everyone has the potential to become a leader. We are all given a different set of weaknesses that put us at certain disadvantages, but we are also all given a set of strengths that if utilised can take us to places we never thought possible.
Throughout the duration of this course, I was able to identify the leadership style which I have, my own weaknesses which I was able to improve and turn into strengths as well as always remembering to look at things from a different perspective. My personal journey throughout this course taught me that for one to be an effective leader, they must be able to take a step back and look at situations in someone else’s shoes. An effective leader should have the ability to display empathy and avoid personal bias within the workspace. An effective leader should be able to notice when there is an opportunity to push those around them to reach their full potential and when to allow individuals to take a step back and breathe. An effective leader tries their best to be fully aware of the culture and atmosphere set in the workplace and should always aim to find ways for improvement in all things.
Thanks to the valuable content I was able to learn through this course, I am confident that I am on my way to taking the necessary steps to ensuring that one day I am able to become an effective leader. For any future students who are considering this course, I highly recommend it. It is not overly time consuming where it puts your studies and current commitments at risk, but it is also not a course which does not provide enough engaging content and material. Diversity and inclusion of it in all aspects of life is the future. Diversity and inclusion is the only way to success.
In April 2021, shortly after I entered the second semester of my freshman year, I had been taking online courses in Jiangyin campus of Nanjing University of technology (NJUST) for nearly a year. The life there was also very good and the students were very familiar with each other. By chance, I found an opportunity to do an exchange offline in my home country on the 360 International website. Without any hesitation, I chose to apply for an exchange study at University of Nottingham Ningbo China (UNNC). This choice may change my later life.
I also applied for PwC internship after this semester, and got an offer, with an internship period from June to August 2021. As Auckland is in winter at this time, the holiday is only one month. I must get the exchange opportunity to achieve both these two things. To this end, I also spent a lot of time on the selection and approval of these exchange courses. When everything was completed, I also had a great sense of achievement in my heart.
When the time came to the beginning of September, finally I can enter the campus of UNNC. Everything here is very fresh to me. There are helpful volunteers, spacious and comfortable rooms and a clean and tidy campus. The most important thing is the enthusiastic people around here. We don’t have classes in the first week of school. The first week here is called i-week (introduction-week) in UNNC, two junior students will take us to register and be familiar with the campus. They will also take us to eat, drink and have fun around the school, which makes us very familiar with the life here. At the end of i-week, there will be a special Gala Show for freshmen, which you can regard as the show of many clubs and community.
As the first week goes by, we should focus on our studies. I found that my living habits have become better here. Because the lecture of online class from UoA is recorded, I can watch it at any time. But in UNNC, I have two classes at 9 a.m., which means I have to get up at 8 o’clock, which makes my daily work and rest more regular. We can have more participation in offline classes, and we also have more opportunities to talk face to face with professors. We will also be divided into different groups to complete the tasks, and there will be the same tutorial or office time as the UoA to help students solve their learning problems. However, it should be noted that the score ratio of courses here is different from that of UoA. In most courses, the final score will account for 70% – 80%, while the usual score is not very prominent.
In addition to learning, the campus life here are also can’t be missed. The Global Engagement Office organizes various activities for international students to help them better integrate into or learn local culture, such as going to the cinema to watch movies, going to downtown to learn traditional culture, etc. Club activities are also one of the highlights here. There are variety of clubs and organizations for students join freely. For example, I joined SCDA (Student Career Development Association), in which I acted as a consultant. Through my previous experience and my international vision, I can help young people who are studying here find their own career development direction. On Monday and Thursday nights, I also signed up for the zero to hero 5km challenge, that can help ourselves achieve the goal of 5km running through continuous training. There are many similar activities, which are voluntarily organized by teachers. Among these activities, what interests me most is the enterprise school recruitment activities. Every year, various large and medium-sized enterprises come to UNNC to carry out recruitment publicity, such as PwC, Byte-Dance, Ctrip, etc., which will be of great opportunity to students of all grades and enable them to understand and prepare for their career life in the near future.
Being able to do an exchange in my home country is an experience I have never thought of, it’s might be a choice of fate. This is also one of the few universities in China that can experience full English teaching, which is very helpful for students studying abroad. At UNNC, I met students from all over the world. Some of them are Chinese exchange students from other universities like me, such as the University of Melbourne and the University of Connecticut. There are also international students from other countries, such as Korea, Tajikistan, Burundi and so on. I like such a diversified and inclusive environment very much. Most importantly, you don’t have to worry about no Chinese food here! There is no curfew in this school. You can come in and out of the university campus freely for 24 hours. When you are hungry, go out for a barbecue or Hotpot. Go out for a driving tour with friends on holidays. In UNNC, you are the main character!
For my future career development, I still aspire to be an entrepreneur or business man. However, in this process, I will choose to work in different industries to help me better understand this society. At present, while studying, I also work as an intern in an international consulting company, so my daily life is very full. In the future, I also plan to take the conjoint-program of BCom/BArts, because I have always had a goal in my heart, which is to do something that can change the current social situation, such as helping the Chinese government improve the popularization rate of higher education, so that more children from poor areas or rural areas can contact the outside world and learn more skills. Therefore, I need to do more research and make more contacts to help me practice my goals. In UNNC, there are several special career planning teachers to help us plan for our future career. There are also some students with the same goals as me. This is one of the reasons why I think UNNC is very suitable for me.
In the future, if there are any students from UoA who want to do an exchange in China. I will recommend you take UNNC as a host university. It is not only the culture and philosophy here, but also the open and inclusive attitude towards all people here. Each student will have a personal tutor from the same school. They will provide you with solutions to difficulties in life or study. Although there are still many things not mentioned, if you come here, you will not regret it.
At present, there are five students from UoA studying here. I hope that more our students will choose to come to UNNC to start a brand-new journey and a different life experience.
My experience during the Campus B Indigenous Rights has been nothing short of amazing, I had some expectations on what to expect these expectations were based on my own experiences regarding indigenous rights here in New Zealand and what we had been taught through the New Zealand education system. I also had my own view on issues regarding Indigenous rights and the topic of Indigenous rights.
The Campus B Indigenous Rights program educated me on the issues and harsh realities that the indigenous people of Brazil face every day, the program included guest lecturers from Brazil who are both experts in their academic fields but also activists for the Brazilian Indigenous Rights movement. These lecturers and guest speakers were not your typical mundane lecturer, these were people passionate about the fight for Indigenous rights, these were people speaking to us mid protest, these were people who wanted to make a positive change.
All speakers and lecturers provided us with a full insight into the multiple fronts of the fight/movement for Indigenous Rights. This ranged from the preservation of Indigenous Art and Culture, Land, Indigenous Women, Indigenous Influencers, Politics, The Education System and many more. All speakers provided us with great insight into all topics and challenged my existing views on indigenous rights and corrected my assumption that the time of colonisation ended. This was very moving for me as I assumed that all countries had implemented a base level of legal rights and protections for Indigenous people that are equal to non-indigenous people. I was wrong, the speakers educated us on how Indigenous people in Brazil had limited Rights and little to no protections, this raised many concerns.
One of the best things about the Campus B Indigenous Rights program is that I was not alone, I was part of a larger group of students from both Brazil and New Zealand. Having people from all different backgrounds, opinions, assumptions and views made this program that much better because we all supported each other, We learned together, we worked together, and we laughed together. This program is an opportunity to see not just how we can improve Indigenous Rights in Brazil but also an opportunity to see how we can improve the world, working with all these amazing people both staff and students from both Brazil and New Zealand was an experience that I will cherish. Special thanks to Gabriela, Sara and Talita for being there for us every step of the way.
Since you guys probably didn’t get to see much of Melbourne University this year (neither did we 👀), Tim, Sasa and I (the three troublemakers 😪) had a photoshoot on campus for the funsies. Here’s how we did 😉
The campus is so incredibly beautiful! I kept thinking to myself what it would’ve been like if lectures were actually on campus this year. It would’ve been so amazing! There are so many buildings across the main campus, and it stretches for ages – just when you think you’re out of it there’s another couple blocks! 🚗 🚗 🚗 🚗 💨
Tim and I decided to make the big jump from tram track to bike lanes, and went on a couple of bike rides to spice up our Melbourne experience. We went on the Capital City Trail and the Brighton Beach Track, exploring places like Brighton Beach, St. Kilda, the Yarra River, and a great handful of places in the Melbourne metropolitan area. I must say, the Capital City Trail was such an eye opener! Who knew there were so many hidden beauties behind the wall of skyscrapers; Cycling by natural rivers, beautiful bridges, and seeing Costco for the first time are things I’ll remember for a long, long time.
I have to say, just when I thought there wasn’t anything else to explore in Melbourne, I was hit with a gust of new surprises! The bikes got us to places that were previously unreachable, and we managed to see another dimension to Melbourne that we couldn’t see before! Hidden parks, alleyways, attractions, and many more places that can’t be found on any ‘Top 25 must-visit places in Melbourne!’ websites – I felt like a real local 😎
Anything (even lockdown) is better with friends! Having friends to catch up with every now and then has made the lockdowns a lot more bearable (and dare I say, enjoyable?). We went around visiting all of the niche and local restaurants around Central Melbourne, and went and walked through a maze of alleyways and buildings. What I found fascinating is that to this day there hasn’t been a single alleyway without an interesting cafe, restaurant, or a beautiful artistic display/instalment!
The past few months here has been awesome, but it also felt like a demo version of the true Melbourne experience. Too often I found myself thinking ‘what if?’, and imagining how much better this experience would have been without the pandemic-that-shall-not-be-named. But despite this, I did enjoy this exchange! There aren’t many people who can say that they’ve been on an exchange during a pandemic, and Melbourne has had a great bunch of activities that could still be permitted with social distancing. Do I recommend people to go on an exchange to Melbourne? Absolutely! Melbourne boasts being one of the southern hemisphere’s most culturally diverse cities, and you can feel that everywhere you go. It feels like a world-best coffee, pizza or croissant (or anything really) is always just an alleyway away.
Thank you all for reading my blogs! Hopefully your exchange experiences are pandemic-free.
Yet another month of lockdown, Youtube, and face masks. Even though we haven’t seen Melbourne in its full glory, it’s definitely a great place to be in lockdown. Despite all the restrictions, we’ve been trying to make the most of being in this beautiful city. Here are some of my favourite things I’ve done so far.
The discovery of Lime eBikes has changed the game for us. A day pass is $17 which is a great deal if you want to see the city. However, maybe read up on how the pass works because I got charged $40 for doing it wrong. These electric bikes make riding effortless. Not to mention, it’s fun to go fast effortlessly. We rode along the capital city trail, to Albert Park, St Kilda beach, and Brighton beach. I highly recommend the capital city trail as you get to experience the scenic views of the city as well as the lush nature along the Yarra River.
Melbourne has stunning beaches whether you’re looking for a cute stroll across the sand, have a calm picnic, or catch covid from the crowds of unmasked people. All the beaches are connected so I enjoyed biking along the coastline from one beach to the next.
Most of the food places have been underwhelming. I don’t know if it’s because we picked bad places or the takeaway containers make the food taste much worse. However, I have really enjoyed a couple of dessert places. My favourites have been a gelato place called Pidapipo and the Instagram worthy desserts served at Scoopy.
Melbourne is such a vibrant place and I would love to come back very soon. Hopefully, the restrictions ease up a bit so I can see more of what the city has to offer and maybe even a bit more of Australia 👀👀.
The Great Global Challenge was a great opportunity to showcase the skills I have developed throughout my university life and to also learn new skills that will help me in the future. We got to attend workshops that helped me to complete the project. The main goal of the week-long project was to ‘Protect Human Rights in the Post-Truth World’. We had to work with an international team to brainstorm solutions to an identified problem, make a prototype and pitch the idea to experienced founders.
The programme helped me learn how to navigate time zones as I had team members in the USA, UK and Australia, build my network by providing opportunities to meet students and mentors from around the world and use technology like Miro, Wix, Slack and Mural. It was a great way to learn about market research and product validation which helped me in developing an Entrepreneurial Mindset. We had two checkpoints due everyday but due to the global team, we were able to submit everything on time.
One of the most important skills that I developed was how to work in a team. I have learned that there are times when not all the people in a team are as dedicated as you are or their goals and motivation levels are completely different to yours. There can be different issues that might arise when the team is not working properly, for example, missing checkpoints. This is where I learned that sometimes you need to step up, take the role of a leader, discuss the issues with your teammates and see how you can fix them. These experiences will surely help me in my professional life as the field I aspire to work in is very team oriented. There were times when I would have to stay up for a 1am workshop or wake up at 4am to make sure that everything was completed and submitted but I know that every experience during those 6 days was a lesson.
I would definitely encourage students from all faculties and stages to take part in various virtual activities as they might end up learning a new skill, make a connection that might help them land their next job or simply make a new friend on the other side of the world. I am very grateful for this opportunity and would like to see more programmes like the Great Global Challenge offered to aspiring students.