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New Oriental completes fam tour of the UK

China’s largest private education provider New Oriental last week completed a 20 day tour of the UK, visiting 17 universities and secondary schools and recording interviews with Chinese students to showcase the UK’s offerings to students back in China.

New Oriental will turn video footage of Chinese students in the UK into a documentary for prospective Chinese students and their parents. Photo: Chenggang Zhou

As of August this year, New Oriental had 711 learning centres and schools around China

New Oriental CEO Chenggang Zhou said he wanted to use the trip, sponsored by Visa, to document an “authentic” educational and cultural view of the UK to be used at the company’s recruitment fairs.

Staff from the company’s study consulting arm, New Oriental Vision Overseas, attended the fam trip, the third of its kind after the company closely worked with Education New Zealand last year on a similar project and embarked on a road trip across the US to visit 30 different educational institutions.

Ming-Hao Shiao Deputy Director of New Oriental’s Department of International Affairs was on the tour and told The PIE News that compared to its competitors, the UK is more supportive of international students.

“They’ve been so open to them early on, more so than I would say compared to the US” she said adding “the UK is known to have a more traditional style of education; it’s safer, the schools are excellent in terms of reputation and quality.”

“The UK is known to have a more traditional style of education; it’s safer, the schools are excellent in terms of reputation and quality”

Among the objectives of the trip was to uncover the challenges Chinese students face in the UK as well as speak with universities’ international office staff.

“Food comes up a lot because Chinese food is a comfort, we share plates and there’s lots of choice. They’re not so used to the Western style and eating sandwiches every day,” explained Shiao.

International office staff voiced concerns around integration of Chinese students, which Shiao agreed can be difficult in classes with up to 40% Chinese.

However Shaio added: “I think a Chinese student who comes here even for a few months, when they go back they’re just different, they change. Chinese students tell me I feel like I am changing the way I think, I am more open.”

Founded in 1993, New Oriental offers pre-school education, online education, education consulting, language courses, test preparation and textbook publishing.

As of August this year it had 711 learning centres and schools around China.

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