From PAL to Postgraduate Officer

Jiani Zhou talks about how being a Language PAL leader helped her win the SU Postgraduate Officer election for 2018/19

Jiani is currently studying for a Masters in Translation with Business Interpreting.  Alongside her studies she has volunteered as a Language PAL leader for Mandarin Chinese.

Peer Assisted Learning (PAL) is an academic support scheme where trained PAL Leaders who are native speakers of the language(s) taught at the Skills Centre (Foreign Languages), work to facilitate regular study groups of students. The sessions help develop intercultural awareness and language skills.

“Apart from sharing my own thoughts, PAL sessions also offer me a chance to meet new friends and is perfect for cultural exchange.”

— Jiani Zhou, MA Translation with Business Interpreting (Chinese)

As a language geek, I enjoy sharing my knowledge of the Chinese language with my peers in PAL sessions, from fancy Chinese characters coined by the female Chinese emperor Wu Zetian to daily expressions about weather or food. Sometimes we find an expression in one language has an amazing counterpart in Chinese!

Apart from sharing my own thoughts, PAL sessions also offer me a chance to meet new friends and they are perfect for cultural exchange like sharing stories about festivals and customs in different countries. Therefore, I learn a great deal from my peers as well.

Recently, I have been elected as the SU Postgraduate Officer for 2018/19. The skills I gained as a PAL leader greatly benefited my campaign. My oral expression and presentation skills have improved a lot by leading PAL Sessions. My passion for cultural exchange has developed and this was regarded as an important element in my manifesto.

I am so proud to be a PAL leader and I enjoy every moment of the PAL Sessions.