QUB’s Global Agent Visit 2018
Two weeks ago, QUB welcomed around ninety visitors from all over the globe to Northern Ireland. These visitors were education agents, and if this is the first time you’ve come across the term, don’t worry – I hadn’t heard of it either until I started my role! In the same way as we have travel agents in the UK, education agents abroad advertise and facilitate education opportunities around the world for prospective students in their home country. Once a year, we welcome a number of our key partners to experience life at QUB for themselves, in order to help them in their roles. Understandably, the agents were given a campus tour on Day 1 to get their bearings, and were introduced to the three faculties through our interactive sessions – they encountered snakes, cared for virtual babies and experienced augmented reality! It was great to see them engaging with our academics, having fun with our technology and learning through doing, just like our students. In the evening we had dinner in the Great Hall, where we were treated to a performance by the QUB staff choir as well as the Ulster String Quartet, who were incredible! But the highlight for me was a speech by our international ambassador Rhea, from Malaysia, whose account of coming to study here was emotional, humorous, practical and ultimately inspiring. I think it was a reminder for us all about the human experience we generate when we offer an international student a place here, and how life changing it can be.
Day 2 was a little more serious, with a busy schools fair in the morning to allow the agents to talk to staff about their courses and facilities, and ask the burning questions they had brought from their students at home. This was followed by faculty tours in the afternoon, and those who had signed up for our Engineering & Physical Sciences tour were certainly impressed by the end of it, even if they did have sore feet! We showed off the project spaces, 3D printing and cyber security labs in our new Computer Science Building, as well as our engineering and core science facilities in the Ashby and David Keir Buildings. Days 3 and 4 were about the cultural experience of studying at QUB, and the agents explored the city, visited Titanic Belfast and dined at City Hall, and then ventured to the north coast for a day on the Game of Thrones tour. They wrapped up their time here at the historic Duke of York, where we had gifts and traditional music to send them on their way in true Northern Irish style! I think it’s safe to say they enjoyed the craic, and returned home with a real sense of what it’s like to be a student here. So I guess that’s mission accomplished!