This is the text of an article written by the Shanghai delegates for the Centre's newletter 'New Horizons' published in January 2007:
As a matter of fact, we were filled with doubts and worries at first when we were told to be dispatched to UK for six month's study in the Warwick University. Will we, the foreigners who are not good at English, encounter tons of difficulties and problems in communication with the British? Can we survive unacquainted circumstances which are totally different from our own? It's a real challenge.
But things turned out to be much more excellent than we ever expected and we gradually changed the deep impression that the gentle British are usually solemn and reserved to foreigners. We were soothed at the very beginning when we had a pleasant meeting with the Centre for Lifelong Learning (CLL) at our first day to the university. And the following three-month experiences in UK made our worries completely vanish! We love the campus which is so beautiful and tranquil. We love our tutors who are so enthusiastic, supportive and humorous. They give us great encouragement, valuable instructions and friendly support. As to our numerous 'why' to British society and custom, our tutors show great patience and enthusiasm to give us the answers.
The CLL thoughtfully supplied us with a series of training courses, including an intensive English language course which not only pushed us into an enjoyable 'language bath' but also encouraged us to exert all our strengths and potential on learning and using English, such as requiring us to make individual 30-minute presentations. The most advantageous courses in the Warwick Business School are covering economics, management and public service fields which are all closely related with our own professional occupations, and also the personalized visits and subject researches which are carefully discussed between our tutor and us.
Inside and outside the campus, wherever we are, we can always experience the friendliness and warm-heartedness in the communication with ordinary British people in our daily life which makes our stay much easier and more colorful.
Being awakened by the pleasant twitter of birds, we feel the whole country is a huge beautiful garden. Viewing the squirrels wandering around lawns and climbing up and down trees, we savour the harmonious relationship between the human and the nature. But what is more impressive is the accord among the people. People are always polite and respectful to others in public. Traffic is not blocked in narrow roads because of strict obedience to the rules and the inherent politeness.
Another point that we are deeply impressed during our stay in UK is the efficiency based on the information technology and trust system of the society. We can easily complete the whole procedure online of the timetable inquiring, the travel planning and the order placing for the public transportation such as bus, coach, train and tube, etc. And the other services such as gas, electric, banking and so on are all very conveniently available online. As short-term staying foreigners, we have applied for the public cards and local library cards with the reference letter supplied by the University. The staff are very friendly and the procedures are very simple and efficient.
Of course, we also found some things which are not perfect in the UK. For example, sometimes we hear complaints about delayed buses or the driver’s attitude. But now we are getting used to accepting it as many British do. Instead of complaining, we smile and say 'Cheers!' to the driver when we get off the bus.
We really appreciate the words of our tutors here: that human nature is the same despite the differences in countries and races. We believe that we can learn from each other and do our best to make the world more beautiful and harmonious.
The Shanghai delegates
L-R: David, May, Flora, Cindy, Shao & Will
Posing with the Bullring's bronze bull on their first visit to Birmingham in September 2006