Reporter 415, 23 February 1998

Huge potential of ‘slumbering giant’

“You worry about so many things when you become a student,” says Eric Jing, President of the University’s Taiwanese Society. “But I’ve been to a lot of universities in Britain and Leeds is the best. It’s a cheap place to live with a very good reputation and good amenities – it even has Chinese supermarkets.”

Not everything Eric has to say about Leeds is positive – “Why aren’t the rooms in halls linked to the computer network?” – but finding out about the highs and lows of life as an international student is part of the University’s International Recruitment Initiative (IRI). In his new role as Principal Adviser (East Asia), Professor Don Rimmington has talked to students including Eric and Sarah Cheung, President of the Chinese Society. “Talking to students has been invaluable,” he said. “It’s a great insight into what’s important to students when they decide where to study.”

For the next two months Don will be based at Hong Kong Baptist University. Leeds and Baptist are founding members of the ‘David Lam East West Institute’ (LEWI), which promotes co-operation with Chinese universities, and Leeds now has its own office at Baptist. As well as taking up a LEWI Fellowship, as ‘our man in East Asia’ Don will be meeting contacts, exploring recruitment and distance-learning prospects and helping to raise the University’s profile in Hong Kong, Taiwan and south China. In Taiwan, Leeds will also be working through the World Education Group (WEG), a consortium involving Leeds, Warwick, Birmingham and Oxford Brookes.

Another key asset in East Asia is our alumni; Taiwanese alumni recently met the Pro-Chancellor, and underlined their commitment to supporting the University.

China – the slumbering giant – offers huge long-term potential for both student recruitment and academic collaboration.

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