Destination China with PM’s Asia scholarships


Peking University's West Gate (photo/Wikimedia Commons)



Dr Michael Li

The chance to study Mandarin and business studies at a top Chinese institution is available to 15 Massey University students, thanks to a Prime Minister’s Scholarship for Asia.

The students – yet to be selected – will undertake a six-week language learning and business experience at Peking University later this year as part of Massey’s Bridging New Zealand and China project, which received a Prime Minister’s Scholarship for Asia. The funding round was announced this week by Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Minister Paul Goldsmith.

And two students from the College of Creative Arts also received funding in the latest round. Bachelor of Design student Jasmine Chin and Bachelor of Fine Arts (Visual Communication) student Laura Young will both undertake a semester exchange at Nanyang Technical University, Singapore.

They are among 202 New Zealand students from universities and institutes of technology selected to travel to top institutions throughout Asia as part of the second 2016-17 scholarship round for a range of student exchanges, undergraduate or postgraduate study, research or internships.

Students from different disciplines across the University, such as Bachelor of Business, Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Information Technology, and Bachelor of Aviation Management degrees, are expected to take up the offer, says Chinese language lecturer Dr Michael Li, from the School of Humanities.

Staff members from the School of Chinese as a Second Language at Peking University have worked closely with Massey staff to design a programme to help students gain the best experiences during their stay, he says. Business experiences will include visiting new entrepreneurs on Zhongguan Village St – China’s Silicon Valley in the innovative industrial area in Beijing, Sanyuan Diary Co Ltd, Beijing Yanjing Brewery, and Beijing Hyundai Motor Co.

“The hands-on experiences will deepen students’ awareness of international networks and the need for global skills, but will also motivate them to critically evaluate the role language and cultural understanding plays in international trade and relations,” Dr Li says.

Associate Professor Kerry Taylor, head of the School of Humanities, says the announcement consolidates a growing relationship between the College of Humanities and Social Sciences and Peking University.

This year, Massey University staff from history, linguistics and geography programmes will teach a course on New Zealand history and culture during the second semester, he says. “This is associated with the New Zealand Centre at Peking University, which has just marked its 10th anniversary,” Dr Taylor says.

Last month Massey launched a Joint Research Centre in Applied Linguistics with the prestigious Beijing Language and Culture University. The centre’s focus is the development of new online tools for teaching Chinese as a Second Language.

Distinguished Professor Paul Spoonley, Pro Vice-Chancellor of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, says it is “great to see these exchanges being supported by the Minister and Education NZ, and it underlines the importance of providing New Zealand students with the opportunity to develop their skills and understanding with a top Chinese university.”

"The recipients of these scholarships will be ambassadors for New Zealand as they head overseas and form global connections that will last a lifetime," Mr Goldsmith says.

"Since it was set up in 2013, the Prime Minister's Scholarship for Asia has enabled more than 1,100 New Zealand students to experience an international education in Asian countries.

"Building new connections and networks, developing a deeper understanding of language and culture, and gaining an international perspective in their area of expertise are just some of the benefits for these students," Mr Goldsmith says.

The recipients will study in 10 countries throughout Asia, with China, Japan and Singapore the top three destinations in this funding round.

Annual funding for the scholarship increased to $3 million in 2016-17, and is due to increase to $3.5 million in 2018-19, reflecting New Zealand’s growing education connections with Asia and the high calibre of applicants. The total value of the scholarships awarded this round is $1.6 million.

Applications for the first 2017-18 scholarship will open on 16 June 2017, and will close on 30 September 2017. Massey students interested in the six-week programme need to apply by the end of June by contacting Dr Li E: s.li.1@massey.ac.nz.

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