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Burton and South Derbyshire College students stay connected across the miles!

Mihnea Nica
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Students at Burton and South Derbyshire College (@BSDCofficial) have been maintaining a global mindset, despite the current travel restrictions, by using digital technology to engage and collaborate with international learners.

Amongst them is Fashion student and International Ambassador, Mihnea Nica (known as Mike) who took part in a competition in collaboration with the National Institute of Technology, Toyota College as part of the College’s partnership with Toyota City.

The competition involved Japanese students being paired with a student from another country, including England, Thailand and Vietnam, to work together on creating a video based on the theme of sustainability in society.

Mike worked remotely with Akito Odanaka from Japan to jointly create a video on the theme of Quality of Education and Sustainability, achieving fourth place overall. The project saw them meeting virtually each week and getting to know each other as friends as well as undertaking the project.

Mike commented: “While collaborating remotely wasn’t as easy as working together in the same room, we made it work. The quality of the time spent meant we were able to overcome any hurdles, and although we didn’t win the contest, being able to help Aki improve his English communication skills through our weekly calls makes me feel like nothing other than a winner.”

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Mike is originally from Romania and has been living in England since August 2018. In less than three years, Mike has completed Level 1 ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages), Level 1 Travel and Tourism and GCSEs in Maths and English. He is now undertaking a Level 3 Fashion and Textiles course at the College, while also serving as an International Ambassador. In addition, he is a keen writer and is currently working on his debut novel.

As part of Mike’s international ambassador duties, he had been helping out in the classroom with South Korean students but felt restricted by the language barrier. This has led to Mike learning Korean to an intermediate level and he is now preparing for the TOPIK exam which tests proficiency in the Korean language. He is also learning the basics of Japanese after taking part in the video project.

In addition to the Toyota City video competition, Mike has entered a Korean poetry recital competition which involved creating a video of himself reciting a poem written by poet, Yun Dong-Ju.

Mike said: “Working with international students has made me into a better person; I have become more open minded. I am, and forever will be, beyond thankful to the international team for supporting me and constantly giving me a chance to become a much better version of myself. Having a global mindset doesn’t just change the way you see things, it changes people for the better. It doesn’t just open doors for you, it opens gates!”

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