May 21, 2014, by educationguestblog
Shanghai 10’s Trip Preparation
Students from the School of Education (UNUK) share their planning and preparation for their two week exchange trip to Shanghai.
The application for a Chinese visa was surprisingly stressful. You might think an application would be a straight forward process, but this was far from it for the Shanghai 10. We met during an hour slot for lunch and put our collective minds to the huge task of filling in a simple form. The words stressful, tense and hectic spring to mind! Had it not been for the food, I think the situation may have become slightly out of hand with stomachs rumbling and tempers flaring! I think I’d go as far as saying that filling out the visa application was one of the most nerve-racking experiences that I’ve had. Little things like writing the date in reverse order (year, month day) suddenly become stressful when, being refused permission to enter China is the consequence of getting it wrong. I have never put so much thought and concentration into writing my own name and address as that very moment!
The other big task (much more fun) was preparing to make a video in Shanghai. We want to share our experience with our colleagues and as many people who will watch us. After all, it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity. Here we had the expertise of Julian Tenney and Alec Millward, from the king’s Meadow campus, who ran a series of training session for us. In the first session, Julian taught us about the types of documentaries, lighting, quality of sound and types of shots. Who’d have thought there was so much to think about when making a film? (We now can’t watch TV without seeing all this stuff- it is so distracting).The most difficult part of this meeting was coming to an agreement about which camera to take on our trip. Bearing in mind we needed a tripod to make a professional job of shooting our film, the difficulty we were faced with was working out which tripod would collapse into the smallest pouch. We want to do a good job, but not to cause alarm with a big cameras, which might distract children in schools! After much deliberation we agreed to take one of the very snazzy cameras (large by mobile phone standards, but small be professional standards) and a smaller video camera as a backup.
Our next meeting with Julian and Alec was real camera training. Some of us (no names mentioned!!) proved to be real naturals in front of the camera and it enabled us to start thinking about the focus of our video and the types of questions we will be asking our exchange colleagues once we arrive in Shanghai. A stop off at the coffee machine fuelled us to head back to the board room and decide on a focus question. After lots of ideas being suggested, we decided that our focus question for the video would be: ‘Is Shanghai’s approach to education the way forward’? The main concern now is to ensure that we take enough memory cards and that we keep the batteries charged each night ready for the following day.
Needless to say, we quashed the squabbling and like magic, a week later we were back at University and our visas had arrived- no sweat! We have gained entry to the largest economy in the world (…oh dear!).
Watch out Shanghai, we’re en route!