The University of Melbourne and the University of Nottingham Ningbo (UNNC) have partnered to offer undergraduate students based in China the opportunity to study on campus at UNNC.
The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on international students unable to travel to overseas university placements has been particularly challenging. Many students undertook their University of Melbourne courses online from their home countries, missing out on the campus life that helps make an international educational experience so valuable.
In mid-2021, utilising the strength of our global partnerships, the University of Melbourne partnered with the University of Nottingham Ningbo (UNNC) to offer undergraduate students based in China the opportunity to study on campus at UNNC. Both universities are members of the Universitas 21 alliance.
Study Local students undertook a hybrid enrolment across the University of Melbourne and UNNC, completing subjects from both institutions while also living on campus.
Zhilin Sun was one of the 32 students invited and accepted into the unique program. After nearly two years studying a Bachelor of Commerce remotely from her home, she felt she’d missed out on the university experience. Her time at UNNC allowed her to enjoy campus life for the first time.
“During the study period at UNNC, I met lots of my University of Melbourne classmates in person, made some new friends, and most importantly, I finally studied on campus as a normal undergraduate student,” Zhilin said.
“I attended in-person classes, joined activities with classmates, and spent time with friends in the dorm - all of these are unforgettable experiences for me.”
University of Melbourne students were split across UNNC’s three Faculties; the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, the Faculty of Science and Engineering and the Faculty of Business and Economics. The diversity of teaching allowed students from the University of Melbourne’s Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Commerce and Bachelor of Design to participate in the program.
Catherine Zhang, from UNNC’s Global Engagement Office, explained that the program’s success is due to close cooperation with global partner universities and the mutual recognition of credits.
“Since its launch, the program has received over 400 applications from our partners, among them students sent from the University of Melbourne,” Ms Zhang said.
“To help these students experience a better campus life, we formulated a series of supportive services such as a specialised online system for Study Local students, cultural visits and monthly excursions.”
Carmel Murphy, Executive Director International, also praised the program for the opportunities it has given the University’s students basedoffshore.
“During the pandemic, many of our students missed out on a true campus experience and only got to know their University of Melbourne community online,” Ms Murphy said.
“UNNC allowed them to study in-person, to meet their peers and teachers, and to experience undergraduate life as it was designed to be.”