Rewards for regional campus students

A trip to China has been described as a resounding success and an excellent example of the benefits of studying at a regional university.

Students at the Great Wall of ChinaSue Nalder, La Trobe University’s Shepparton campus Associate Head – Regional School of Business said that the visit is just one example of how smaller class sizes at regional campuses can benefit students.

‘It’s a great example of how living and studying in regional campuses gives students the advantage not only of smaller class sizes and quality teaching but also opportunities for international trips that provide experiences which will stay with them forever,’ said Ms Nalder.

Ms Nalder said the visit included opportunities for the students to experience education, business, social and cultural practices in China.

‘Trips such as this afford fantastic opportunities for students to experience first-hand how other societies operate.

‘Experiences like these broaden our students’ outlook. La Trobe has a long tradition of overseas students coming to the regions to undertake their studies and it’s great to see local students now going offshore to gain international experience,’ said Ms Nalder.

La Trobe University Shepparton campus student, Loretta Gawne says the trip was an eye-opener. She is one of twenty-nine La Trobe University students who went on the trip, where they teamed up with students from the top one hundred at the Central University of Finance and Economics.

Highlights of the trip for Loretta include walking on the Great Wall of China, visiting the Birds Nest Stadium and using her negotiating skills in the silk market.

‘At the market I bought five silk scarves, after which time I left the market, only to be chased down by a woman trying to sell me more scarves, said Loretta.

‘We also went to an antique market and were advised “Don’t pick anything up or look too closely, or they’ll think you want to buy and you’ll be taking it home.”.’  

Although Loretta says this was at times challenging, she left feeling her negotiation skills had improved.

‘When I now think of China, I think of the faces of the people I met there and the food; I really enjoyed the food. I now have a much better understanding of the Chinese people, the culture and the environment they live in.’ said Loretta.

Lecturer Dr Peter Lamb, who accompanied the students to China, says that students now have a greater understanding of the Chinese culture and how they do business.
‘The basic aims of the tour were to allow students to acquire a first-hand understanding of Chinese customs, values, and beliefs that influence the way business is conducted in China.’ said Dr Lamb.                                                

Dr Lamb is very happy with the outcomes from the trip. ‘From a staff perspective our expectations were exceeded; educationally, culturally, and personally. I suspect the students would agree too, but more importantly they have many different stories to tell.’ says Dr Lamb.


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The twenty-nine students on the trip came from La Trobe campuses at Albury-Wodonga, Bendigo, Shepparton and Bundoora.

Three La Trobe University staff accompanied the students on the trip. These were Albury-Wodonga staff member Dr Peter Lamb and Bundoora staff members Clare D’Souza and Roman Peretiatko.

Students on the trip are studying their Bachelor of Business and Bachelor of Commerce.  Many of the students are studying International Marketing and/or International Business.

Students visited several businesses such as the:

•    Digital Banking Section of China EverBright Bank,
•    Bank of Tianjin ( ANZ have a 20% shareholding)
•    Tianjin Economic Development Area (where more Fortune 500 companies are located than in Shanghai);
•    TEDA is one of the three key manufacturing basins in China (the other two are located outside Shanghai and at Guangzhou)
•    Dragon Seal Wine Company (a state owned enterprise) which is China’s number two wine company in terms of sales that has been making wine for over 100 years, and exports premium wine across the globe.
•    Australian Embassy to be briefed by the Heads of the Political and Economic sections within the Embassy.
•    Students were also exposed to the hospitality industry via a visit to The Jian Guo Hotel Group
•    Visited a wholly-owned Taiwanese agricultural/horticultural venture (a wholly-owned venture in China is rare) at the Xiao Tao Shan agricultural park where orchids are propagated and grown for export using state of the art plant technology

Other visits:

•    Several key historical monuments
•    Parks
•    Hutongs of old Beijing and buildings significant in the development of Beijing as well as China. For example the Great Wall of China,  the Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square, the Bahia Lake area