Manchester is known to be one of the most culturally diverse cities in the world. Many of the locals are bilingual and there are around 153 languages spoken by the people in the city. Home to some of the top academic institutions world-wide, Manchester has become a popular destination for international students, including over 9000 Chinese students who currently study in the city. While moving to a new country can be an exciting time for international students it can be a tough time too.
In 2021, The Manchester China Institute teamed up with the Manchester China Forum (MCF) and UoM’s International Office to launch the Manchester China Friendship Programme (MCFP) to help integrate new Chinese students into campus life, while simultaneously enriching the campus experience for local students. The programme brings Chinese and Manchester-based students together and give them the opportunity to forge friendships and enhance cross-cultural understanding. The Manchester students act as ‘hosts’ for the students coming from China. In addition to this the MCFP supports the Chinese students with practical skills such as employability, making the city a more welcoming place for the incoming students whilst helping them integrate into city life.
Jack Mitchell-Wilkinson one of the founders of MCFP said:
“I feel really happy! We have doubled the programme from last year and we now how 105 students involved. It’s great to see people wanting to get involved and understand other cultures.”
“A lot of the students have come up to me and said they are really happy that something like this is happening because these types of initiatives aren’t happening enough.”
Here's what one of the students had to say:
“I met a lot of great people, I’m really happy to chat with them”
“It’s a good chance to meet new friends”
This year the programme started on Friday 14th of October and attracted over 100 participants representing over 15 nationalities and various academic disciplines. Several exciting events are organised throughout the year and so far, this has included Chinese New Year celebrations in Chinatown, a concert at the Royal Northern College of Music, and an exhibition at the John Rylands Library.
Recently the students were taken on a guided tour around the city by Marketing Manchester. The students got the chance to visit some landmarks in Manchester such as the Town Hall, John Rylands Library and St Peters Square with a talk about Emmeline Pankhurst and the tram system. Walk towards the Townhall the tour finished with food and drinks at the Alliance Manchester Business School.
The students also had a fun night at the ice-skating rink in Cathedral Gardens on the 18th of November, giving the students another chance to get to know about each other in a fun way.
If you wish to find out more about the Manchester China Friendship Programme, please send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org