I am impressed by the work and study programmes to assist students financially while living on or off campus. These employment opportunities not only meet financial needs they facilitate professional growth as well. I am sure the knowledge I learned and the hands-on experience I gained in the programme will prove most beneficial to my future pursuits in the business field.
BSc. Economics and Statistics
I consider my opportunity for tertiary education as a chance to advance the welfare of the human race and the Faculty of Social Sciences had helped me to better understand individuals, how they interact with others and with their environs. No country can function without full appreciation of the social, economical and political issues affecting the society and the Faculty of Social Sciences afforded me the means of achieving a higher level of civic competence. The holistic approach to student growth and development offered by the University of the West Indies nurtures a truly regional thought process that can only serve to propel the Caribbean to the forefront of the international community.
BSc International Relations
The down to earth staff in the Faculty always encouraged us to excel, and recognized our efforts when we did just that. As an accounting major, the relationship between the Faculty and the accounting community here in Jamaica was a remarkable advantage to me both inside and outside the classroom. I owe a huge part of what I have accomplished and will accomplish in terms of my personal and professional development to the Faculty and my Department.
BSc. Management Studies Accounting
Exchange Programme in China
Now you are at the airport of your home country saying your final goodbyes to your friends and family and happy to start your journey to a foreign country. You’ve gone through the work of packing having tried to fit your entire room into two suitcases just to last you for the next 6 months. An adrenaline rush takes over as you depart to begin your journey and as your plane gets closer to your final destination mixed feelings of excitement and sadness take over knowing you will venture into a brand new experience but you are leaving everything you love behind. That was my experience going to China for the first time, 21 years old on a flight to China for cumulatively 21 hours.
For almost 6 months I lived the life of an exchange student, getting assimilated in a new country and meeting new people while furthering my education. In August 2012, I went on a scholarship programme to study in Taiyuan, China for a semester. At 太原理工大学 (Taiyuan University of Technology) I studied six courses including language classes and Chinese culture.
This journey started when I decided to pursue my degree in International Relations at the University of the West Indies Mona (UWI) in the year 2010, I had to make a choice of a foreign language. Being aware of China’s rapidly growing economy and having received advice from my family, I decided on the Chinese language. It was really my university education that gave me knowledge about China as my degree is saturated in the field of foreign affairs. Hanban is a leading organisation in Chinese public diplomacy and it is most notable for the Confucius Institute Scholarship. This scholarship allows for top students of the Confucius Institute classrooms, aspiring Chinese teachers and Chinese bridge winners to gain the opportunity to study in China and develop cross cultural understanding.
It really was a culture shock moving from the comfort of my island Jamaica to the largest continent in the world. At UWI I am a part of the majority amidst foreign students mainly from other islands in the Caribbean and North America, while at Taiyuan University of Technology (TUT) I was a part of the minority foreigners amidst many Chinese students. The language barrier at first posed a bit of a problem; however much sooner than later as my vocabulary expanded, activities such as interacting with other students, listening in class, ordering food in the cafeteria, going to the supermarket and even changing money at the bank became more manageable. I made good friends with students who were Chinese as well as with students from the USA, Germany, Africa and Afghanistan. Being able to keep in touch with family was most convenient using Skype and e-mail, however popular social media such as Facebook and twitter are prohibited. In addition it was very comforting to have the support of the Jamaican Embassy in China and specifically Ambassador Courtenay Rattray who actually visited us at the University.
The scholarship provided me with the opportunity to not only advance my knowledge of the Chinese language, but also to gain hands-on experience of the rich culture of China. I took advantage of this journey to visit different provinces and many historical landmarks but my most rewarding visit had to be the Great Wall of China.
It is only with an open mind that one can approach an opportunity like this to immerse oneself into a different culture; it is only with the skills to adapt that one can truly embrace a whole new situation; and it is only with unwavering motivation that one can make it through successfully. Being a student in a foreign country really enriches you as a person, and it is truly an unforgettable experience.
I would like to express thanks to the staff of the Confucius Institute, more specifically my dedicated language teacher Liang Yingping, Chinese Director Professor Lu Shaogang and Jamaican Director Dr. Courtney Hogarth that made this opportunity real. 我非常感谢你们所做的一切. I must also thank Dr. Paulette Ramsay Head of the Department of Modern Languages, Mrs. Patricia Stephenson-Allen of the Social Sciences Faculty Office, Ms. Hermine Tyrell of the International Students Office and all other UWI personnel for facilitating this process.
BSc International Relations
Editor’s Note: Sandene semester ended with her obtaining five (5) ‘A+s’ and one (1) ‘A’ – a GPA of 4.23. She is expected to graduate in November 2013.