Making Mandarin skills work for you in your career

Babette Radclyffe-Thomas studied Chinese at the University of Leeds, graduating in 2012.  She is now an award-winning freelance journalist.

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Babette Radclyffe-Thomas, Fashion Journalist and Chinese graduate

An 8-week investment to connect with students

Professor Gary Chambers took the BCI level 1 course to learn some basic Mandarin phrases to use with his Chinese students.

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Gary wearing a suit and tie, with speech bubbles saying "I teach lots of students from China", "I just wanted to be able to say hello and a few more words and phrases", "learning Mandarin is an investment".

From painter and decorator to HSK 6 and beyond

Richard went from a student lacking confidence in his abilities to a fluent Mandarin speaker who has completed all the HSK exams and now teaches Chinese at Harrogate Grammar School.

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Illustration of Richard, a young white man with a beard, and quotes saying "I have passed all the HSK exams", "Learning Chinese has been good for my mental health", and "I learned a lot from the cleaners at my workplace in China"

Meet Mandarin Aspirations Project Assistant Grace Valks

Grace, a third year Chinese student at the University of Leeds, shares her Mandarin Aspirations story.

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Quotes from the article

What are your Mandarin Aspirations?

The aim of the BCI’s Mandarin Aspirations Project is to encourage and celebrate the learning of Chinese by sharing the motivations (why study Chinese), study experiences (challenges and rewards) and study outcomes (employability, confidence and intercultural skills) of Chinese language learners.

This project provides a platform for Chinese language learners, from beginners to old hands, to share their Mandarin learning journey through different media, such as short videos, profiles or stories.

We hope that these Mandarin Aspirations stories will encourage those of you already studying Chinese, and inspire new learners to join a growing and supportive community of Chinese language enthusiasts in the UK.

Look out for updates in our emails, on Twitter and Facebook, and here on our website.

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In a guest lecture for the Business Confucius Institute in November 2020, Leeds alumnus Guy Dru Drury gave us an...


Earlier this month the Careers Centre at the University of Leeds organised a series of workshops about the top five...


Lecture recordings

Watch this talk to learn about the successful career of Leeds alumnus Guy Dru Drury MBE, Chief Representative in China for the Confederation of British Industry (CBI).
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Learn about living and working in China from long term resident, highly regarded lawyer and successful entrepreneur Jeremy Sargent OBE.
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In this talk, Leeds alumnus Andrew Disbury explained how learning to speak Chinese has shaped his life, career and global outlook. Watch the recording on our Facebook page.
Watch the recording