Posted on 17/05/2013
English and Drama student Catherine Sutherland was recently selected by the British Council from hundreds of applicants to raise awareness of the benefits of international study in an event in China.
Chosen as an ambassador for UK education at the British Council’s Student Forum in Beijing at the beginning of May, it was her conviction that spending time abroad is an invaluable and life-changing experience which won her the place.
“Our education has a huge influence on our future and I believe a global outlook and international perspective is one of the greatest skills a graduate can possess”, said Catherine.
“At Royal Holloway I had an amazing opportunity to spend a year in Seoul where I studied International Relations at Korea University. I quickly learned the importance of understanding how to communicate across cultures, of being sensitive to issues of cultural difference and of overcoming language barriers by finding common interests. I believe international experience is a key to success in global careers.”
During her week in Beijing, Catherine collaborated with Chinese students to come up with innovative ideas, including different ways of funding such as charities and corporate sponsorship, and exchanged different cultural experiences, which the British Council will take on board when considering its own work on international education.
The ambassadors also spoke to Chinese politician Zhang Xiaojing and two British entrepreneurs based in Beijing who established t-shirt business Plastered and the company We Impact, which works to make new businesses environmentally sustainable. This allowed the students to get a greater insight into the economic and business climate of the country. They were then invited to talk about their experiences in front of a packed room of more than 100 members of the public and press, before they embarked on a group trip along the Great Wall of China.
“Not only was I able to build academic and diplomatic connections, but I was lucky enough to meet such a large and diverse group of students”, Catherine added. “Personally, my week in Beijing has confirmed my desire to live, study and work overseas in the future.”
Royal Holloway was recently ranked first in the UK and fourth in the world for international outlook in the Times Higher World Rankings.