Wǒ jiào Scott McQuarrie. I work in the Edinburgh Global office at the University of Edinburgh. I am responsible for the University’s recruitment activity in East Asia and have been managing a series of pre-departure briefing sessions and information events over the last week.
This trip has taken me to Taipei, Beijing, Guangzhou, Hong Kong and Shanghai, where I’ve had the pleasure of meeting more than 500 offer-holders and prospective students. The purpose of this activity is two-fold: to promote the University as a world-class higher education institution, and to comprehensively prepare students for arriving in Edinburgh in September.
Our aim is to recruit the brightest and best minds from the region, whether they are undergraduate, postgraduate or visiting students. The University of Edinburgh currently hosts over 3,000 students from mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Macao. This is approximately 8% of our student body and contributes to the wide diversity on campus (156 nationalities and approximately 15,000 international students overall).
The University has a long tradition of welcoming students from the region. Dr Huang Kuan graduated from the University in 1855 and was the first Chinese student recorded to have studied in the West. We now have approximately 10,000 alumni from mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Macao many of whom play an important role in our pre-departure briefing sessions. The alumni speakers who attended our information events provided an up-to-date student perspective on wide range of topics such as employability, teaching style and the Scottish weather(!).
A special mention must also go to the Edinburgh University Chinese Students and Scholars Association (EUCSSA) who have arranged speakers at all our events. EUCSSA is one of the largest student societies on campus and arrange a number of events throughout the year. These vary from sporting competitions, the Lantern Festival, and Chinese New Year celebrations. EUCSSA also provide an airport greeting service for all students arriving from China that they co-ordinate via WeChat. It’s a huge undertaking and one which is very much appreciated by incoming students and their families.
This trip has also provided an opportunity to highlight our engagement with the ‘China Ready’ project which is being coordinated by Edinburgh Tourism Action Group (ETAG). The project aims to make Edinburgh more accessible for visitors from China. The social media strand of the project involves city-wide promotion through Weibo and WeChat and has multiple partners which comprises of a number of Edinburgh-based businesses. The University plays a prominent role in the project and provides yet another way for our students from China to engage with both the University and the City of Edinburgh online.
It’s inspiring to meet so many students who are looking to challenge themselves by undertaking an international education. The reward of experiencing a new culture is something that they will never forget. Whether they have engaged with us in person at an in-country event, or through an online platform, we look forward to welcoming all students in September!