Last week OISE Bristol hosted a very exciting event for the Chinese student community to introduce them to our school, our students and staff. The afternoon started with canapes in the student lounge so that the visitors and current OISE Bristol students could have a chance to speak with and mix with each other.
OISE Bristol students mixing with our Chinese friends
From there we had two talks from the academic manager Jo Lewis, and Tony Doyle, the senior teacher, to introduce what the school could do for them to help in both in their academic life and future working life in the UK.
Jo and Tony talk about what OISE Bristol can offer students
Things we noticed from the surveys we carried out in the talks:
Less than 5% of students had ever studied pronunciation!
The majority of students had spent less than 10% of their time before coming to the UK actually speaking when studying English!
All of the students said that they had taken either the IELTS or TOEFL exam, but only 2 people from a group of around 50 felt that the exam actually prepared them for life at university in the UK!
Some of the most frequent difficulties that new students had when entering the UK and using English were – understanding and talking to immigration staff at Heathrow, asking for things in the shops, speaking to housemates, explaining how they want their hair cut (!) and speaking to their tutors in university.
Many of them agreed that it wasn’t that they didn’t have the English, as that was there in their head, but it was actually having the confidence to use what they know in their daily lives.They felt that they had not had the chance to practise using the language enough before coming over here and that did tend to hold them back at the start.
Many agreed that the focus we have on interpersonal skills and building spoken confidence within our courses at OISE Bristol would really help them both in university and work life.
Leadership, innovation, problem solving and intercultural awareness were some of the areas they felt were important for their future careers.
Do you feel the same when you think about your experiences studying English?
We also had two talks from two Chinese members of the UK business community on their experiences living and working over here. They provided invaluable insights for the listeners as it gave them a lot of useful information and advice for the future.
The day was very productive and we hope that both our university students and OISE Bristol students enjoyed it, as we know we did! We hope to see some of them again in the future!