Athlone IT President Travels to China on Relationship Building Mission

In China, relationship building, also known as ‘guanxi’, is a fundamental part of doing business. One must know their business contacts personally before contracts can be signed, or, in Athlone Institute of Technology’s case, agreements for educational cooperation. President of Athlone Institute of Technology, Professor Ciarán Ó Catháin, knows this better than most given his extensive international experience.

This approach to internationalised education has seen Athlone Institute of Technology develop many longstanding relationships with partner institutes across China. One such relationship, with Luoyang Institute of Science and Technology (LIST), was forged in September 2014 when a delegation from Luoyang led by Vice-President Tianhe Qiu visited Ireland.

This relationship has flourished, thanks to the introduction of popular joint programmes such as the Bachelor of Engineering in Civil Engineering. The programme, which is approved by the Ministry of Education in Beijing, facilitates the bilateral flow of students between Ireland and China and currently has 400 enrolled students.

This week, Professor Ó Catháin is once again visiting partner universities across China to strengthen ties and meet prospective incoming students who will transfer into the final year of Athlone Institute of Technology’s Bachelor of Engineering in Civil Engineering (Honours) degree.

Professor Ó Catháin’s presence follows on from a semester of visits by academic staff across the institute’s three core faculties -Engineering and Informatics, Business and Hospitality and Science and Health. Cyril Morris, James McNamara, Brian Mullarney and Leo Reddy of the Department of Civil Engineering and Trades recently delivered a series of lectures on a wide array of topics, including Structural Analysis, Structural Design, Environmental Engineering and Hydraulics, Construction Management and Structural Engineering.

Lecturer exchange activity, whereby the bilateral flow of academics from both partner institutes is encouraged, strengthens relationships and can help motivate students in each respective college consider studying abroad.

Athlone Institute of Technology has partnerships agreements with more than 20 universities in China and hosts 180 Chinese students on campus this academic year. The new academic year will see more than 500 international students making the institute their home away from home.

The institute is viewed as a very good choice for international students with excellent transport links to and from Dublin airport, sports facilities, watersports on Lough Ree and tourist attractions such as Clonmacnoise, Birr Castle and Lough Boora. Athlone Institute of Technology’s International Office is planning wonderful excursions for international students in September 2019 to see the warm Midlands welcome first hand.

An educational powerhouse defined by a commitment to applied, industry-focussed education, Athlone Institute of Technology has enjoyed considerable successes in the academic arena this year, most notably being named “best in class” for research across the technological higher education sector. Further solidifying its reputational prowess, the institute was recently awarded ‘Best Academic Partnership’ at the prestigious national Education Awards for its part in developing SURE, Ireland’s first academic network dedicated to promoting undergraduate STEM research across the technological higher education sector. These accolades build upon the institute’s success in winning the Sunday Times Good University Guide ‘Institute of Technology of the Year’ award in 2018.

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