S：What is the biggest difference between Ireland and China?
H: Well, the biggest difference is size, everything is bigger here even this chair. China is a big country with a lot of people, and I suppose that the buildings are much higher than I’m used to, and buildings are built very fast, so these are the deep impressions really.
S：What is the best thing for you about working and living in Gengdan Institute?
H: I think the best thing is the students, because I have to say quite honestly that in BGD, the students are very nice, very interesting, and very eager to learn, which means the young people in China know what they want. I think that maybe related to the history and the culture. Well, I like the students who are very enthusiastic.
S: When I came to here in the first year, my first impression of BGD is very beautiful. There are many green trees and my favorite sport soccer. That kind of environment and atmosphere is what I want. So, can you share with us about your first impression about BGD?
H:Yes, I agree with you，the environment is very beautiful, and the buildings are also beautiful, old leaves are being red from the tree, and in spring we have cherry blossom. So, it’s nice to study in such a beautiful campus which covered by a big green space. For another hand, it’s nice that everything is in the campus. Students can do sports all the time, and for basketball courts, running courts, students can be able to go there when they want to do.
S: I know that you have taught many years in BGD, have you ever met any problems when you are teaching in BGD at the beginning? And how did you solve these problems?
H: Problems in teaching？No! But I am doing a really challenging thing in Urban Planning program which is language. Everything is taught in English, and it is not easy for the students. But we cannot say that it’s a problem, it’s a challenge and we are often very happy when the students can understand to the teachers. Also the facilities are very good, which include many valuable rooms, these help us a lot in teaching.
S: Are there any differences about the way of teaching between China and Ireland?
H: We tried to do in the same way, but I noticed that the students are sometimes not used to the way we taught. Particularly in our program, there is no right or wrong answers to the question, it’s different from another program. For Urban Planning, it is about arguments, making a case or telling a story why you think something should be done. So, we often gave some debates in classes and students would give their opinion. And I think for many students, it may difficult to them, because they didn’t have this kind of class in their high school. So, in the first year, I often say to students that we need to learn from each other, and we need to share opinions with other people. Another difference what we are difficult to change is that they will not argue with others when other students are talking, they will wait until teachers give their signal. At last, there are many students using their phone in the class, I think that need changed. These are the differences from me.
S: For many Chinese student, they learned English very early from primary school, but a lot of student cannot speak English fluently now. Can you give us some advises on studying English?
H: Well the best advice I can give you is talk to each other in English more. You know that when you are talking to another people in English, you will feel very difficult because that is not your mother tongue. And for me, I was born and grew up in Ireland, and Irish is my mother tongue, I just learned English at school. But for one work in a summer vacation, I need to speak English in my work, so it’s difficult for me to talk in English at the beginning, but three months later, at the end of the work, I discovered that it is much easier than I thought, because during the work, I cannot speak Irish, and only English here, so I improved very quickly, all in all, the advice I can give you is speaking English as much as possible.
S：Is there anything you’d like to say to our students at last?
H: I would like to say that I admire the students who are far away from home. They don’t go home maybe from one month or a whole semester, cause the distance, even other province. I understand them but I think they can grow up more quickly than others, because they have to look up themselves. Well, there are some local students who do not return home often, too, they will spend the weekends for studying at school. So, I admire those students who do not return home often. I asked my students and they gave me a very positive feedback. They wouldn't be frustrated, because they could do a lot of things at school, such as completing homework and preparing for exams. In this regard, my suggestion is to keep it. In addition to learning, you can use the weekend to spend time around and explore the outside world, and there are many overseas programs in our school, you can explore different countries and feel the different cultures, this is a very good opportunity to improve self-ability, be sure to seize it.