Kent team visits Southeast Asia

A delegation from the University has visited alumni, current and prospective partner universities, exchange students and other friends of the University in Southeast Asia.

The delegation first visited Malaysia, where an event for alumni and friends was held at the Kuala Lumpur Hilton with over 120 people in attendance. This annual event has been a fixture for the past six years and has contributed to raising Kent’s profile in Malaysia a country in which Kent has an alumni community of over 1,400. In the past five years, the number of students coming to Kent from Malaysia has more than doubled, rising from 115 registered students in 2010/11 to 271 in 2015/16. The event was covered by Malaysia’s English-language newspaper The Star.

During the visit, discussions took place with the University of Malaya with a view to developing a partnership with the School of History. Professor Gaynor Johnson represented the School and a reciprocal visit is being discussed. Meetings took place with MARA (who support students from Malaysia to study overseas), the Ministry of Higher Education and with UK Trade and Investment. These meetings provided the opportunity to explore possibilities for collaboration across a range of areas and to raise the University’s profile as a destination for students from Malaysia who are interested in studying in the UK.

The delegation then travelled to Hong Kong where staff visited partner universities including the University of Hong Kong, City University of Hong Kong, Chinese University of Hong Kong and Hong Kong Baptist University (HKBU). Over 70 students are currently studying on one of two Master’s programmes at HKBU which are run by both the HKBU Department of Mathematics and Kent Business School.

A cocktail reception was held at the Renaissance Harbour View Hotel with attendees including alumni, contacts from partner universities and other organisations, and a number of Kent students who are currently on a year abroad (either at a university or working in industry) in Hong Kong. Colleagues also met with the British Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong. The visit received press coverage from English-language newspaper the South China Morning Post and Ming Pao, a Chinese-language newspaper based in Hong Kong.

Staff then travelled to Singapore and to mainland China, taking the opportunity to meet informally with alumni and to visit existing partner universities (including Tongji University and China Foreign Affairs University).

Dr Anthony Manning, Dean for Internationalisation, said: ‘These visits are important in raising the profile of the University in countries of strategic importance. We place emphasis on supporting student recruitment; strengthening and deepening existing partnerships; seeking opportunities to build new relationships and, of course, to engaging with our alumni in these countries. It isn’t just about what happens during the few days that we are there; we seek to ensure that there are a wide range of people in each country who are informed about Kent’s strengths and successes and can act as ambassadors for the University all year round.’