Global Graduates is a programme run by the University with a private donor, which was established in 2012 and has kept growing and becoming more successful over time. Last year, I was one of the lucky 28 chosen to go on the trip; my chosen location was Hong Kong.
The programme has six amazing destinations: Dubai, Hong Kong, London and Paris (combined), New York City, San Francisco or Singapore, which you get to spend around a week in. The whole purpose of the trip is to act as an ambassador for the University, completing meetings with Manchester alumni who are now living and working in your chosen country. They were all in various different job roles and sectors, all with different experiences of Manchester and their new home and very keen to hear about what great things the University has on offer nowadays.
Most of our daytimes were occupied by the meetings which mostly took place in their work buildings but occasionally we met in coffee shops and local cafes and one meeting even took place at a Rotary club lunch in the Peninsula Hotel! On our second to last day in Hong Kong, we were invited to a UK university alumni event which was an award ceremony to celebrate many university’s and individuals’ achievements, filled with lots of Manchester and other British university graduates of all ages. Afterwards, we were taken out for an amazing dinner with one of our alumni and served a huge variety of traditional Chinese dishes.
Whilst on the trip, we were also shown around a newly built shopping centre, which was great for me as a fashion student (getting to talk a lot about retail futurology) and given a presentation with small-scale models of the new high speed train link being built to allow easier and quicker transport between Hong Kong and the biggest Chinese cities.
As well as this trip being something very different to anything I’ve ever done before, and very exciting as we did have lots of time in between set activities to explore the country and its attractions, this has been an opportunity that has boosted my CV significantly. Although, it isn’t the easiest thing to explain in few words on a CV, just being able to describe it as acting as a University Ambassador in another country and having been successful over many other applicants makes it a stand out point on there.
What skills did I gain from the experience?
- Communication skills were probably the most significant. When engaging with the alumni, communication was key for getting as much relevant information from them as possible, as well as conveying our thoughts on Manchester. There was also an opportunity for networking with other professionals at a big UK university alumni event, where important attendees from Manchester and other universities that were now based in the East Asia offices were present. We were also taken out by a couple of the alumni to network with their friends and colleagues.
- I also gained commercial awareness through knowledge of East Asian culture and business practice, which I know is a very important trait for a graduate to possess in the eyes of many prospective employers.
- Professionalism and handling myself in formal settings (very useful when applying for jobs)
- Teamwork, organisation and at the end, report writing and public speaking skills (as you have to produce a team report, personal report and PowerPoint presentation after the trip has ended.
My experience on this programme was invaluable, with the alumni we met out there still being connections of mine now; something that could open doors for the prospect of working out there in the future.
Why not try it yourself?
This year, there are 32 available places across the six locations, 28 of those being for bursary/grant awarded students, and four for non-bursary/grant awarded students. I feel that this trip gives opportunities to those who otherwise maybe wouldn’t get them, as the trip is fully funded, and I know personally I wouldn’t have been able to attend if it wasn’t. I couldn’t recommend this programme enough for the sheer amount of options it has potentially opened up for me and with the application only being fairly short, there really is nothing to lose. Applications close on Monday 23rd March at 5pm and if you want any further details about the programme, they can be found here: www.manchester.ac.uk/careers/experience/globalgraduates