Even in times of Covid-19 Howest maintains ties with China

Even in times of Covid-19 Howest maintains ties with China

Even in times of Covid-19 Howest maintains ties with China

Traditionally, a group of Howest students travels to China at the end of March in the scope of the 'China from within' programme. Last year, this unique study trip had to be cancelled in extremis; this year an online alternative has been elaborated in collaboration with the partner university in Hangzhou. Howest students from 6 different study programmes registered for the online edition from 27th March 27 till 2nd April.

" 'China from within' is a unique opportunity to get to know China, its culture and young people from the inside. To that end, we have been working with the Zhejiang Gongshang University in Hangzhou for twelve years," explains Isabelle Pertry, Howest's Head of Internationalization. "Last year, 64 students from 14 different study programmes were ready to leave for three weeks, but in the end we had to cancel everything. This year, we didn't even start organizing the trip. However, to maintain the ties with our partner university and to give our students the opportunity to get to know China, we decided to set up an online edition."

Mix of lectures and interaction

From Saturday, 27th March until Friday, 2nd April, two online sessions will be offered each day. In the morning (Belgian time), the 29 enrolled students will be initiated from within China into, among other things, the Chinese language, culture, calligraphy, kung fu and economics. In the afternoon, they will interact with their Chinese counterparts on several topics such as the differences between lifestyle and eating habits in China and Belgium, COVID-19, studying abroad or the impact of artificial intelligence on society. "This interaction is actually at the basis of our partnership with the University in Hangzhou," explains Isabelle Pertry. "While the exchange is a unique opportunity for our students to get to know China, the Chinese university mainly wants to raise the level of English of its students by having them actively communicate with our students."

Food box for China feeling

This year, 29 second and third-year students enrolled in the "online China Week" (including a large number from the Applied Architecture bachelor's study programme). Initially, our Confucius Institute in Bruges also provided a corona-proof calligraphy workshop and a Chinese food box for each participant.  Unfortunately, only the food box survived the once again tightened Covid-19 measures. "With this extra initiative, we still reinforce the China feeling a bit. And in the meantime, we are keeping our fingers crossed that we can again pick up the tradition in 2022 and travel to Hangzhou again."