The work of a university extends way beyond the classroom. As the only one in the county, the University of Northampton (UON) has an important role within Northamptonshire, supporting the Lieutenancy as well as local businesses, charities, schools and the civic authorities etc.
Our work also extends beyond the UK. The UON has partnerships with institutions around the world, in which our programmes are taught to local students and/or from which we recruit students for our ‘top-up’ programmes and postgraduate degrees. Over the past 15-20 years UON has developed strong links with many countries including China, India, Nigeria, Pakistan, Singapore, Poland and Thailand.
With faculty drawn from many countries, the University prides itself on its diversity and inclusion in all areas of its work. We are known for the high numbers of students we serve from black, Asian and minority ethnic groups, and recently UON was placed 27th in the world in the world, and 11th in the UK, for its performance in the UNSDG Goal Number 10 – Reduced Inequalities.
The Faculty of Business & Law (FBL) has a strong offering in international business and cross-cultural management, with many students benefiting from the theory and practice of inter-cultural relations. This is something that, in a post-Brexit world, local businesses could also benefit from when looking to open up new markets. Around the world the University acts as an ambassador for Northamptonshire, offering a great potential platform for new market entry into foreign countries.
One country where we have strong ties is Vietnam, with whom the UK now has a free trade agreement. FBL’s Dr Holger Siemons, Dr Sarah Jones and I recently led a successful second year study trip to Hanoi, accompanied by 14 international business students.
During a two-week visit, based on cultural immersion as part of their degree, the group visited Hanoi’s University of Science & Technology (HUST), the National Economics University (NEU), the Hanoi Banking Academy and the Foreign Trade University (FTU). In each we were given a warm welcome by local faculty and students who hosted and made friends with our students through classroom sessions, team building exercises and social events.
Testing for COVID every day, the party arrived safely back in the UK after creating great memories and lifelong friendships.
Such trips expose students to forward planning, decision-making under uncertainty and cross-cultural communication skills as well as stress and conflict management. Concepts such as the Leader of the Day allow students to apply learned skills and techniques of team building as well as leadership skills. Study trips move theory into practice.
The personal and professional development of our students – young professionals – comes through cultural immersion, aided by peer-to-peer and tutor-to-student reflections. These interventions and the rich travel experiences, at times stressful in a hot foreign country culturally so different, deepen the students’ self-awareness and knowledge, challenge their mindsets, inspire change in their horizons and ambitions and prepare them for future success in international business.
The group benefited from Holger’s deep love and knowledge of Vietnam, where he has developed an extensive network and signifcant social capital. As a result, contacts have been made with local politicians, businessmen, charities and companies, all of whom are keen to deepen the relationships between the two countries – especially with Northamptonshire.
With its young, energetic population, high growth rates, and a great spirit as well as warm and welcoming people, Vietnam is a fascinating and fast developing country, well worth looking into from both a tourist and business perspective.
The University has raised a flag for Northamptonshire in Vietnam, as in many other countries. These connections help our students but also promote cultural, commercial and trade opportunities for Northamptonshire and its businesses.
Why not find out more about how our faculty and students – available for internships, placements and jobs – can help your international expansion, sourcing and trade?
To find out more contact Adrian Pryce at email@example.com or call 07720 297402