Cardiff and Vale College visits China
Representatives from Cardiff and Vale College attended the International Education Conference and Seminars of China, Britain and France at the International Education Center at Renmin University of China in Beijing, on the 19th November.
The International arm of the College; Cardiff College International, attended the Conference and Seminars along with Dr Barbara Prosser, Head of Faculty of Advanced Studies. They hope to create a partnership that will see Chinese students above the age of 17 take advantage of the courses on offer at Cardiff and Vale College such as A Levels, Aerospace Engineering and Automotive Engineering.
Cardiff College International Programme Manager at Cardiff and Vale College, Janine Bennett, said, “The educational consultants we are working with put together a packed schedule for us which included visits to schools in Beijing, Yuncheng and Luoyang as well as a full-day conference where we had the opportunity to meet with High School principals. We are confident in the quality of provision and level of service that we offer here at the College and hope this will be the start of a mutually beneficial relationship with our Chinese colleagues.”
This promising partnership comes at a time when Further Education colleges from across Wales are expanding their links with China. A new initiative was launched by the First Minister Carwyn Jones while on a visit to the country last month as part of the Wales-Chongqing Consortium. The Consortium brings together Welsh colleges to develop partnerships with businesses and institutions in Chongqing, including technical and vocational schools. Cardiff and Vale College is a member of the consortium, and hopes to share good practice and establish relationships and partnerships with colleges in Chongqing.
There are approximately 300 international students at Cardiff and Vale College who come from over 50 different countries, which the College is hoping to increase in the near future. 16 year old Cardiff and Vale College student, Cameron James Patterson, has recently returned to his birth town of Llandough after spending what most would consider to be the ‘best years of his life’ living in China.
At the age of eight, Cameron moved with his parents to a city in the north of China, a four hour commute from the capital Beijing, where they were emigrating to teach English. In his eight years in China, Cameron travelled over 2,000 miles, studying in four different schools in four different cities; Datong, Qingdao, Lianyungang and Zhanjiang.
Cameron said, “I found adjusting to the culture and learning the language quite challenging at first, but I enjoy a challenge and soon began to accept it as my new life. Some say now that I'm even more Chinese in my ways than British. I moved back to the UK in August, and even though it's so different, I'm really enjoying being back. I'm keeping myself busy and am slowly getting used to life here again.”
Cameron, who is a volunteer at the Cardiff Confucius Institute at Cardiff University, is now studying on the AS Foundation course at Cardiff and Vale College. On the AS Foundation programme students select a balanced programme of study where they can study one AS subject alongside their GCSEs. Cameron chose to study AS Mathematics, alongside five GCSEs; Core Science, English Language, Environmental Science, Information Communication and Technology and Photography. He said, “I hope to finish college with the qualifications needed to fulfil my dreams and achieve my goals in life. My long term ambition is to become a British Ambassador to China or if I may be so bold to say Prime Minister, or somebody high up in government.”
With high-flying aspirations and bold statements, it comes as no surprise that Cameron has already experienced the sweet taste of fame and fortune. He took part in a foreign talent contest on Jiangsu TV (a Chinese national television channel) in 2005 and won 3rd place along with ‘most creative act’ award. He was then asked to return to host the show in 2006, where he interviewed the head of the Foreign Affairs Bureau and met the Head of Beijing University and the Manager of Hong Kong Disneyland.
Cameron can speak fluent Mandarin Chinese and English as well as being able to understand Cantonese. He said, “I enjoyed my life in China and would gladly go back to work there if opportunities arise, but for the meantime I’d like to finish college and go to university in the UK.”