Haper Adams is an agricultural college based in Shropshire. Many of their courses have an influx of foreign students for the final year of the course, especially from China. For the last several years, staff from the college have brought these final year students to the Adventure Rope Course as a vehicle to break down barriers and integrate the students from different language and cultural backgrounds.
The first hour or so was spent on ground based activities that required communication for successful completion. With a lack of Chinese students with the confidence in their English language abilities, it tended to be the native speakers that came to the fore. However, ‘gagging’ the English forced the newcomers to take a more active role and a team started to develop. The rest of the time was spent on a few of the bigger, off the ground activities, where the students needed to be more of an encouragement as well as looking after each other.
With one group in the morning, and another turning up an lunchtime, it was quite a busy day. However, it was good to see some of those barriers coming down and the two cultures a bit more mixed by the end of the day.