International Relations at Alton College

Students from Alton College have had real life experience of international relations as they hosted a delegation of students from The People’s Republic of China this month.

Fifteen visitors from Xinghua High School in the Eastern Chinese province of Jiangsu, accompanied by their English teacher and Vice-Director of Foreign Affairs from the school, Mr Wang Jianhua, have spent a total of ten days as guests of the College, shadowing their student hosts and living with their families.

Seven of the fifteen students are the first to have enrolled in Alton College’s new International Student Intake programme, designed to attract young people from overseas keen to gain AS and A2 level qualifications prior to continuing their studies at a UK University. These students will take their AS level exams in China and return to Alton College in 2015 to spend a whole year studying here full-time before they sit their A2 exams.

During their stay, the students sampled many aspects of life in the UK, and in addition to attending classes with their hosts, they visited London for sight-seeing, enjoyed a tour of Jane Austen's House in Chawton and spent a fun afternoon in Basingstoke trying their hand at ten pin bowling!

One exciting event held on campus in the Wessex Arts cafe bar, was a Chinese buffet lunch produced by our onsite kitchen for the students and their teachers which was thoroughly enjoyed by all. The lunch marked the end of the visit and after the meal students and teachers exchanged gifts, Alton Mayor Derek Gardner also attended.

Andrew Cox, Alton College’s International Manager, said: ‘We are thrilled to be hosting our Chinese guests and show them all of the wonderful facilities that the College has to offer. We are also delighted that the UK Border Agency has recently granted us 'Highly Trusted Sponsor' status, this being an essential component of our future International Student Recruitment Programme.  

He added: 'We hope that the positive experience gained by our visitors on their short visit will encourage others to follow in their footsteps, which will enrich the cultural diversity of College life as well as building new and lasting friendships’.