Kingston Business School was a hive of activity during the summer, being home to 82 international students during July and August.
30 female students from King Abdulaziz University, Saudi Arabia, were the first to arrive following two summers of successful Kingston visits from all-male parties. The students enjoyed two months of cultural immersion, blending International Business and English studies alongside exciting sightseeing, social and educational trips. Visits included The Shard, Houses of Parliament, Windsor, the London Eye and the BBC.
"Everyone was great. I loved all the trips. The lecturers were excellent, especially our business communication teacher who was outstanding. In my spare time, I partied at the Holi One Colour Festival and went bungee jumping! The programme was so useful, I gained new friends and had a great experience," said Lena from King Abdulaziz University.
The Saudis also had the opportunity to socialise with two other summer school groups from Shanghai Dianji University who opted for two weeks of formal study and trips, plus one week of free travel; and Shanghai Business School who came for two weeks.
The students stayed in halls at Kingston Hill and found self-catering quite challenging at first. However, summer school staff accompanied groups to the local supermarket, bought basic supplies for the shared kitchens, and encouraged friends to cook together in the evenings.
"I particularly enjoyed cooking and shopping. Learning to cook has been very important," said Wang Xinyi from Dianji University.
Bespoke summer programmes are tailored to a group's requirements and promise a unique opportunity for international undergraduate students to experience British life, culture, study, tourism and lots of shopping! The majority of the 2015 guests had never left their home countries or lived independently before – so to spend their summer in London really has been a wonderful opportunity.
Staff at Kingston University ensured that all students were made to feel at home from amending the timetable so that students could attend a special Saudi football match (females are not permitted to attend public sporting events in their home country), to giving out birthday cards to students who may have been feeling homesick on their special day.
"It was a really amazing trip. I will never forget the people and my visit here. I learnt so much about London and the UK," said Doris from Dianji University.
"A great experience to get overseas study experience, improve my English and gain a good overall view about business," said Cassie, Dianji University.
The Faculty of Art, Design & Architecture (FADA) welcomed 22 SUES students for an exciting two-week fashion design workshop during summer 2015.
The packed schedule combined both theoretical and practical workshops based around the students' own research and drawings on location in central London. Trips included visits to iconic department store, Liberty London; the galleries and shops around Dover Street; and the Alexander McQueen – Savage Beauty and Shoes: Pleasure and Pain exhibitions at the V&A.
The group also ventured up to Edinburgh via an Yves St Laurent exhibition in Durham, to view the Fully Fashioned Pringle exhibition at the National Museum of Scotland, and a tartan mill. They squeezed in a spot of sightseeing before travelling back down to Kingston stopping to shop at Bicester Village Designer Outlets.
Between field trips, the students worked on their designs in the fashion studios at Kingston's Knights Park campus, supported by Kingston University tutors and three Chinese speaking helpers. They concluded their trip with a celebratory presentation and final exhibition of their projects.
"I've really enjoyed the whole course and the travelling in London and Edinburgh. I like Kingston – the atmosphere is full of every part of art – 3D design, photography, filming…there's so much equipment – it's wonderful. Schools in China don't have so much equipment – students have to buy them themselves. People are very cool here," said Charmaine.
"It's my first time in London. It's an amazing place. It's a very old city with many historical things. The environment at Kingston is comfortable and makes me happy. We have very good teachers and it's a great place to study. The teaching process is very interesting and different to learning in China. I think the British way is more focused on students making and creating things themselves," said Megan.
FADA also hosted a group of 16 and 17 year olds during summer 2015 on a pre-foundation arts workshop. This intensive course ran over five days and consisted of two days of architectural drawing, two days of fashion and a final day of fine art.
Trips to inspire their project work included visits to the Sonia Delaunay show at the Tate Modern and the Alexander McQueen exhibition at the V&A.
Students stayed with local host families and were supported during the workshop by expert Kingston University tutors and Chinese speaking studio assistants.
"It is amazing that after only a few days' practice and learning, the students have leapt forward in progress. Their new designs are full of detail and texture and have more complete details," said Chen Shuqiang, Vice-Director of Art Teaching, AIP.
"This is the first time I have designed clothes. I was very excited and really enjoyed it. I'm doing pretty well! Chinese students tend to focus on the end result but ignore the process and fun of thinking and making during the project," said Lang Kanghong.
"We were really lucky to see the Alexander McQueen exhibition. I was really shocked! I collapsed into tears. Directly uncontrollable emotions," said Han Jiang Lu.
"My homestay was very nice – they gave us a lot of delicious dinner, it was so great!" said another student.
Each January, Kingston University hosts 20 English teachers from the region of Chungcheongbuk-Do in South Korea. The group is sponsored by their educational authority to complete a month-long continuing professional development course with the English Language Development within the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences.
During their stay, teachers are placed with carefully selected local host families to maximise opportunities to practise their English. They are then immersed in taught sessions with a variety of educational programmes designed to improve English communication ability and teaching methodology. There is strong emphasis on practising and developing English language through workshops, lectures and presentations focusing on skills and systems development. Additional project sessions provide the opportunity to work on writing and language.
A key element of the programme is visiting local secondary or primary schools to gain insights into the British education system and to observe how lessons are taught.
Social trips to top London attractions, such as historical sites such as Hampton Court Palace are always popular, particularly afternoon tea at Harrods!
Kingston's guests in 2015 took a break from their morning's studies to attend a formal ceremony at County Hall in Kingston, during which Chungcheongbuk-Do's governor of Education signed an agreement to extend its partnership with the University for a further four years.
Governor Kim and his delegation were in Europe to gain insight into education systems across four countries. After the ceremony, the party enjoyed a tour of Kingston, which ended with a highly-praised lunch at a Korean restaurant in the town centre.
They then visited Ashley Church of England School in Walton on Thames, a top performing primary school and one of the world's leading eco schools. They were fascinated by the differences between the child-centred, theme-based learning experience at Ashley and Korea's more traditional, formal textbook approach to education. They were particularly impressed that the head teacher knew all 420 children by name!
"We greatly value the Kingston University Korean Teachers' Programme for its expertise in developing our teachers and we always receive excellent feedback from our teachers on the programme," Young Rok Oh, education supervisor, Chungcheongbuk-do office of education said.