3 Years in China
In 2012 I had the opportunity to travel to Ningbo, a city of 6 million people, about 150 miles south of Shanghai. While I was there I studied at the University of Nottingham Ningbo and was awarded an MA with distinction in Chinese Contemporary Studies.
My dissertation was about an ancient park in Ningbo city centre, where old people gathered every day to socialise, play cards and listen to a local form of opera. I discussed the role the park played in their lives. You can read it at
I wrote a blog, www.trailingspouseinchina.wordpress.com about my experience of living in the suburbs of the city, learning Mandarin and travelling in China and beyond.
On my return to the UK in 2015 I decided to keep up my Mandarin and I’ve continued to learn the language. The Chinese government has devised a set of language exams for foreigners and I’ve passed HSK 4, the level needed to study in a Chinese university.
I ran an after school club at a local Nottinghamshire secondary school for a couple of terms and have recently been asked to develop a module for adults wanting to learn more about Chinese culture as part of the University of Nottingham’s CPD programme.
I’d love to make more use of my knowledge of China and Mandarin and am open to ideas and requests!
Shane Downer, Heritage Officer, Milton Keynes Council
Kate Travers, Head of Learning, Bletchley Park Trust
Michaela Butter, FRSA MBE, Director, Attenborough Arts Centre
Stephen Newbould, Artistic Director, Birmingham Contemporary Music Group
Iain Standen, CEO, Bletchley Park Trust