Students at The College of Law’s Bristol centre got an insight into life as a young professional in China recently, when a delegation from the All China Youth Federation visited the centre. In this article, LPC student Kim O’Brien tells us about the day…
What is the All China Youth Federation?
The All China Youth Federation (ACYF) is a non-governmental organisation of the People’s Republic of China that reaches over 300 million young people across China through its 52 member organisations and over 77,000 individual members. Not only does the ACYF support the youth of China, it also attracts those interested in politics, as both the current and former Presidents of China have come through the ACYF.
Why did the Federation visit Bristol?
The British Council and the ACYF have been developing a relationship over the last 15 years through a number of bilateral official visits and internships. Bristol was chosen as the location for this recent visit, as the ACYF were keen to establish relationships with important cities outside of London. The visit was a huge step forward in establishing Bristol as a prominent city in its own right, and gave the delegates an opportunity to find out more about the College and its support for international students.
Who took part?
The ACYF delegation group consisted of:
- Mr Zhang Jing – Secretary-General of China Youth Press Association
- Mr Xiang Yang – Deputy Director of the International Department of the ACYF
- Mr Wang Haiyin – President of Youth Federation of Ningbo Municipality, Zhejiang Province
- Mr Huang Bo – Journalist of China Youth Daily
- Ms Shen Juan – Committee Member of the ACYF
- Ms Zhang Ying – Programme Officer of the International Department of the ACYF
The College of Law was represented by tutor Barbara Heys and Director of International Rob Dudley, who were assisted by student ambassadors Kim O’Brien, Lydia Lloyd, Joshua Reynolds and Jonathon Gait. Darren Jones, a former student of The College of Law and now a trainee solicitor at Bond Pearce, helped co-ordinate the visit and accompanied the delegates throughout.
Details of the visit
The visit began with a short presentation by Rob Dudley, detailing the courses and support the College offers its students. After this, there was an opportunity to talk to delegation members through an interpreter – allowing us to gain an insight into the delegation’s present work and future aspirations.
Following the presentation, Mr Zhang Jing thanked the College, saying that he found it ‘most informative’. He was particularly impressed by the systems in place to help international students adapt to their new study programme, specifically the ‘buddy system’ whereby Chinese students starting at the College are paired with an existing Chinese student to help them acclimatise.
The College of Law presented the delegation with a paperweight made of Bristol glass, as well as packs of information on the College. The delegates were also very kind and presented the College with an imitation 7th Century silk painting and an ICYF pennant.
The benefits of international experience
The delegates were keen to stress the importance of gaining international experience for Chinese students. Mr Zhang Jing said that students with international experience are more commercially ready for international firms, as they have already shown determination, organisation and drive. He added that Chinese students who come to the UK are poised for success when they return, as they have shown not only that they can succeed academically, but also that they are capable of navigating strict regulatory requirements.
Law in China
When asked about the legal profession in China, Mr Huang Bo, Mr Xiang Yang and Mr Zhang Jing informed us that this sector is growing in line with the economy. They told us that in order to practise law in China, students must first gain an undergraduate degree and then pass the National Judicial Examination and gain a one-year internship with a law firm, similar to the UK training contract. Whilst this sounded a very similar process to the UK, the average pass rate for the National Judicial Examination is often below 20% - one of the reasons why the delegates encourage students to gain international experience and a wider perspective.
The College’s international perspective
The delegates had several questions for The College of Law team, including what steps have been taken to build a relationship with China, and how the College assists Chinese students with visa issues. At this point, Rob Dudley spoke of the continuing development of The College of Law’s relationship with Renmin University of China Law School (Beijing), and highlighted the fact that the College has a dedicated team to guide international students through visa issues.
An insightful day
The visit was a great honour for the College and gave us an insight into the issues faced by young professionals in a different culture. It was also encouraging to see that The College of Law’s support systems and ethos of getting students equipped for the profession academically and practically, seems to be one which is globally applicable. The delegates showed us that a relationship between Bristol and China can be mutually beneficial and that law really is operating on a global scale.
LPC student, The College of Law Bristol