School of Property, Construction & Project Management
China University of Mining and Technology (CUMT) students, Gavin Chengyang Liu and June Nianjue Wang took part in a student panel discussion at the Transnational Education Forum organized by IEAA (International Education Association of Australia). Gavin and June are part of Collaborative Articulation Program between CUMT and RMIT where students are awarded degrees upon successful completion of the program by both Chinese and Australian universities.
The students reported that they found a gap between the disciplines in China and Australia. The CUMT degree is engineering oriented, while the RMIT degree is construction oriented. Pedagogical differences in teaching styles and delivery models, assessments and workloads, combined with different cultural and climatic environments were challenging to begin with. Gavin and June spoke about their experiences with transitioning into RMIT University from CUMT, their learning and life experiences and language issues. Their challenges included unfamiliar environments, insufficient information and a very short time to adapt to life in Melbourne and RMIT, as well as finding appropriately paid part-time jobs.
Since RMIT students had been to CUMT where they met CUMT students prior to their coming to Melbourne, this assisted in “breaking the ice” for the CUMT students. Furthermore, there was exposure to some of the teaching pedagogy in China through teaching visits by RMIT staff. Though both universities provided orientation to the students, these could be improved further to make it more “student relevant”. Gavin, June and their peers prepared their own handbook to assist with orientation of other CUMT students from China. On the positive side, they found the mentoring program by RMIT very helpful and found the staff and students friendly, and prepared to help. Both students have both since joined the LEAD (Lead Engage Aspire Develop) program at RMIT University (http://www1.rmit.edu.au/browse;ID=qrkzw11526gb1) , and are enjoying mentoring other students. They also suggested organizing cultural workshops and providing more career guidance to assist CUMT students with life skills.
Author: A/Prof Usha Iyer-Raniga
Photo credits: Peter Muntz, Communications Manager, International Education Association of Australia (IEAA)