Despite there being no direct flight between the British city of Manchester and the Chinese mainland yet, the inconvenience in transport hasn’t hindered close exchanges and collaboration between the University of Manchester and its partners in China.
Nancy Rothwell, President and Vice-Chancellor of the university, said staff of the university travel to China all the time and she herself visits China at least once a year, looking at common interests that might be shared on both teaching and research.
So far, at least 20 cooperative programs have been formed during the past several years. “The number is continuously growing,” Rothwell told China Daily during a trip to China in early September.
According to Rothwell, the university has established strong collaborations with some of the best universities in China, including Tsinghua University, Peking University and Shanghai Jiao Tong University, whose positions have gone up on the world’s top 100 list of the recently released QS World University Rankings.
“We have a lot of partnerships both in research and teaching , where students can go and do part of their degree or do visits and exchanges,” she said. “Some of our students come to Chinese universities as well.”
During this trip to China, Rothwell led a delegation from the university and signed an agreement with the China Scholarship Council to offer more scholarships to PhD students.
The university now has about 4,000 students from China, 1,500 undergraduates, 2,000 masters students and 300 doctoral students, spreading across different disciplines and programs.
“The largest number is in our business school, but we also have a lot in engineering, development studies, materials and mathematics, mechanical engineering and social sciences,” Rothwell said.
She said Chinese students now make up 10 percent of the student body and are the largest group besides students from Britain and other European countries. And applications to the university from Chinese students is increasing every year.
“Manchester a very popular university for Chinese students,” she said.
To maintain its attraction to Chinese students, Rothwell said they had done a lot to make the students satisfied, including letting students get to know the programs and taking feedback from them.
“We enable students to come for a short period as an undergraduate; they might like it and come back as a masters student,” she said.
“We also have quite a number of MOOCs [massive open online courses], so students might have a taster by doing a MOOC and then decide if they like the university,” she said, adding that they continue to develop the campus to make life more convenient and comfortable for students.
Rothwell said the good news is that there will be direct flights from Manchester to the Chinese mainland next year.
“We already have direct flights to Hong Kong, but we expect to soon have a direct flight to the mainland, which will make it even easier for Chinese students to arrive in the city of Manchester,” she said.