Ningbo campus

January 31, 2020, by Leah Sharpe

My summer school experience

By Sophia Tang, third year International Media and Communication Studies student

Looking for a productive summer opportunity but not ready to work? Why not try attending a summer school where you can learn and explore a new country in the meantime!

The University of Nottingham offers a summer school programme which allows you to develop your knowledge in a number of fields. You are not limited to applying for a course which is relevant to your studies, so it gives you a chance to learn something new. You can travel to a number of places, from Europe to North America, and even East and South Asia. There is also an opportunity to study at the University of Nottingham’s other campuses in Malaysia and Ningbo. I attended the UNNC Summer School, studying Mandarin for the Workplace.

My Summer School Experience

The UNNC Summer School last year offered us two programmes to choose from. We either chose between Business in China or Mandarin for the Workplace. As I had been studying Mandarin Chinese for two years with my programme, I felt the latter was the most appropriate choice for me. The programme I chose offered a chance to study Mandarin within the business environment and we were given the opportunity to complete work experience with a Chinese company.


Classes would start at 9am every day for three weeks, with days ranging from Mandarin classes to cultural activities. For Mandarin classes, our teacher taught us a range of business terminology as well as conversational Chinese. This was particularly useful as I could implement these skills in my real-life experiences in China, and each week we were tested on our knowledge. In the final week we were asked to complete a video presentation, expressing our accumulated knowledge of the programme.


I completed Tai Chi, Chinese painting, and trips to other cities. I also had a great opportunity to go on an inclusive trip to Shanghai and Hangzhou. My key highlights were sight-seeing, exploring the culture and enjoying traditional Chinese food.

Work experience:

We would usually be required to attend work experience with a company a few times a week, depending on the employer we were placed with. This was usually during the afternoon following our classes at the University. We completed a number of tasks as arranged by our employers and had the opportunity to practice our Mandarin Chinese skills in the process. I worked with the Zhejiang Newway Cultural Exchange to assist with promoting Ningbo internationally. I completed market research and offered suggestions for the Insight Ningbo social media pages. Additionally, I attended some Chinese lectures as my team worked on live-streaming the event. I was also able to spectate an interview with the founder of Yupin Sports at Dongqian Lake.


The overall experience allowed me to learn about the media industry in China, as well as the differentiating work environments between the UK and China. At the end of the programme, we held a presentation in front of our company representatives to discuss our experiences. By the ending ceremony, we were each rewarded with a certificate for our participation in the programme. It was an insightful and action-packed experience and one that I’d recommend to all!

Application process

Suitability for the summer programme of your choice will be dependent on the relevant school. There may be some restrictions for the schools you can apply for. Additionally, students will be assessed on other criteria such as their current academic year and personal statement. It is required for each applicant to receive a minimum average of 40%.

The application process requires you to select up to three different summer schools in order of preference and write a personal statement stating your suitability for each summer school. If you are selected for the programme you will need to complete an application form and consider the appropriate travel arrangements for the school e.g. visas. Fortunately, the University offers information on estimated costs and details for each programme.

Posted in Work experience