After months of negotiation and planning between the College of Economics and University of Edinburgh, the first Applied Economics Intensive took place on the Paterson’s Land campus of University of Edinburgh for four weeks in August and September. Sixteen undergraduates travelled to Scotland to take part in the course, residing with various host families around the historic city.
This 80-hour course comprises three elements. There is an ESP (English for Specific Purposes) aspect, where students analyze and discuss academic texts on economics-related themes such as Fairtrade. As the program took place just before September 18 2014, when Scotland held its historic referendum on independence, the various economic arguments of the YES and NO camps were also critiqued. A second component looks at the culture and society of English-speaking nations in general, and Scotland in particular. The third part of the course involves research skills, with students carrying out independent study on a research topic of their own choosing. They then write essays and give presentations on that topic.
There is also a social side to the course, with students taking part in various activities in Edinburgh and beyond. In August, Edinburgh famously hosts the International Festival and Fringe. This is the world’s biggest arts festival, and the city is alive with performers, culture seekers and media. YNU students were able to sample various aspects of the festival. Native speaker mentors are part of the course, and they guided students to plays, shows and events. A tour to the Highlands and The Isle of Skye on the third weekend was very popular, especially as the weather was fine for the two days.
Feedback obtained from the participants revealed the course was evaluated very highly and students felt their English had improved, and they had been stimulated and enlightened by the Edinburgh experience. They expressed a wish to continue the momentum in their studies that they felt this program had given them.
The application process for the 2015 Applied Economic Intensive at University of Edinburgh will begin in December 2014.