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Virtual University Fair brings Cambridge to China during pandemic




Many hundreds of Mandarin- and Cantonese-speaking high-school students nurturing dreams of attending the University of Cambridge will tune in on smartphones, iPads and laptops to gain insights and hear the truth about Cambridge from the colleges’ admissions director and one of the university’s pro-vice-chancellors on Sunday (April 26).

Prof David Cardwell
Prof David Cardwell

The University of Cambridge webinar – a highlight of the Virtual University Fair China 2020 sponsored by Ambright Institute of Educational and Scientific Research and organised by the Eduugo.com platform – will set out to demystify the unique University of Cambridge admission process at a time when Covid-19 has made campus visits and physical open days as impossible as overseas research trips.

Professor David Cardwell, pro vice-chancellor, strategy and planning, and Dr Sam Lucy, director of admissions for the Cambridge colleges, have volunteered to deliver the official truth-about-Cambridge webinar as part of a major non-profit series showcasing respected universities across the UK and Ireland.

Dr Lucy said: “The scale of [Virtual University Fair China 2020] goes way beyond that of any online forum with which the university has engaged in its overseas recruitment in the past, and offers a potential watershed in widening participation in mainland China in the future.”

Sean Zhang, the president of the Ambright Institute, said: “Our university fair organised by Eduugo aims, on a non-profit basis, to benefit universities and students.”

Sponsoring the fair feeds into the institute’s mission to promote educational and cultural exchange between China and other parts of the world, including the Britain, he said.

“I have warm memories of my many visits to Cambridge and am extremely grateful to Dr Lucy and Prof Cardwell for taking time to speak directly to prospective applicants across China despite the disruption the Covid-19 pandemic has caused Cambridge,” said Mr Zhang.

The University of Cambridge webinar for VUF China 2020 will present an overview of the university and its colleges, the application and admission processes, courses and routes open to applicants from mainland China.

Dr Sam Lucy, Director of Admissions for the Cambridge Colleges
Dr Sam Lucy, Director of Admissions for the Cambridge Colleges

Students from Xi’an, Xiamen, Xiahe or Shanghai who are accustomed to ‘morning reading’ at the crack of dawn and a study routine very different to that of their counterparts in the UK will learn about university life and the Cambridge supervision system.

Prof Cardwell said: “The overall aim of the webinar will be to help students make an informed decision in applying for higher education, and whether to apply to Cambridge in particular.”

And the virtual approach has its benefits.

Dr Lucy said: “Reducing [the university’s] carbon footprint and increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of communicating on a wide scale is a significant potential benefit of the VUF.”

While prospective applicants from Qingdao and Qinghai may not be able to check out the Xu Zhimo Memorial Garden in person - but a successful application could yet give them that opportunity.

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