Press Office


First Chinese graduation


Newcastle University has celebrated the achievements of its Chinese graduates with its first ever graduation ceremony in the country.

More than 200 students attended the ceremony in the Radisson Blu New World Hotel on Thursday. It was a chance for parents, family and friends to see their loved ones graduate, something that isn’t always possible when the university they attended is thousands of miles away from home.

The majority of those graduating have postgraduate degrees from 2012.  There were also a small number of undergraduates from 2012 and others who graduated in 2011 or 2010.

Three student orators, Yiting Ge, Yichun Zhang and Lijie Deng gave speeches during the ceremony, which was presided over by Professor Ella Ritchie, Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Newcastle University.

Yiting Ge, who graduated with an MA in Applied Linguistics and TESOL in 2011, said: “The first as well as the most important lesson I learned at Newcastle was to follow your heart and express your ideas with confidence and courage.  As a graduate, rather than seeking a high-salaried job in a world renowned company, my heart inspires me to be a teacher, sharing what I have acquired in the UK with my dear students.”

And 2011 graduate, with an MSc in Banking and Finance, Yichun Zhang, said: “Today is a memorable moment for us all. Maybe some of us have graduated for several years, while I believe each one here still keeps a fresh memory of Newcastle University, as well as of Newcastle.  No matter where I am going, I still firmly believe that this place is my “hometown” in the UK.”

Lijie Deng who completed an MA in Media and Public Relations in 2012, said: “There is no doubt that one year in Newcastle University not only benefited me in the academic aspect, but also taught me more about life, about myself, and about my dreams. I am a Newcastle graduate and this dream is the most fascinating and valuable experience I have ever had in my life. I love Newcastle! I love the place where I laughed, cried and matured.”

Professor Ella Ritchie, Deputy Vice Chancellor at Newcastle University, said: “This is an important moment for Newcastle University as we look to build on our links with China.

“Studying abroad is an amazing experience, which can change your life for the better in so many ways, but our Chinese students sometimes miss the opportunity to attend a graduation ceremony, or else their relatives and friends cannot travel to the UK to see them graduating, so this is something really special for them.

“Everyone at these ceremonies has worked hard to get their degrees and it’s nice to have family and friends present to celebrate their achievement. This is also a wonderful opportunity for the University and the graduating students to acknowledge the sacrifices made by their families. Congratulations to every one of our graduates and their families.”

Newcastle University has increasing links with China. As well as hundreds of students from the country who come to Newcastle every year, a new Confucius Institute is being created thanks to an agreement with Xiamen University in Fujian Province, the first to be established in the North East of England. It will bring closer ties between the region and China. In 2009 Newcastle City Council, and the University signed a Memorandum of Understanding with region of Henan and a delegation from there visited the UK to boost trade, academic and research links. And then in 2012 a group from Newcastle, including council leader Cllr Nick Forbes visited Taiyuan, Zhengzhou and Shanghai, further boosting relations.

Newcastle University also has a growing presence outside the UK, with teaching campuses in Malaysia and Singapore, taking our expertise and excellence around the world.

published on: 1 March 2013