Alex Stafford

Alex Stafford
Alex Stafford

UWLP Programme of Study: Beginners and Intermediate Chinese
Degree Programme of Study: BSc International Business and Management
Year: Placement

I chose to study Mandarin Chinese during my first year at Aston, as an extra module alongside my degree because I know how important language and communication skills are in business. I was drawn to Chinese over the other languages, as it was something I knew very little about, and also because China is a huge emerging economy that has been having a vast impact on the world of business.

As my interest in the language grew, I decided to incorporate it as part my course in second year by selecting it as one of my module choices and earning credits towards my degree. I moved from Beginner level in my first year, to Intermediate in my second. In my final year I intend to study at the Advanced level.

My teacher was enthusiastic and made learning such a difficult language seem easy. Her methods of teaching were interactive and engaging, as she would use a combination of PowerPoint, videos, music, textbooks, listening tapes, and conversation practice. Moreover, the small class size meant we all got enough attention to help us improve.

We also learnt about Chinese culture. Every year the Mandarin class host and participate in the Chinese New Year party open to all the staff and students at Aston University. There are performances, karaoke, prizes, and lots of tasty Chinese sweets.

My interest in languages is one of the factors that helped me secure my 12-month industrial placement in Romania, working for the global manufacturer Cooper Industries, who operate in over 20 countries. I am a buyer for raw materials and my knowledge of the Chinese language and culture has proven useful when dealing with our Chinese suppliers. In addition, my placement is further broadening my language and cultural skills as I am learning Romanian and immersing myself in the culture.

The UWLP is a fantastic scheme that equips you with the language skills and cultural knowledge that employers will definitely find attractive, and will help you if you want to work, study, or live abroad. Moreover the great teaching style makes learning a new language achievable and fun.