Discovery Languages Ltd would like to announce their first student spotlight!


4th December 2020

Barry Ferguson, Director of Philanthropy and Partnerships at Dundee’s V&A, has been studying Mandarin with DLL since April 2020.

Earlier this month we caught up with Barry Ferguson, who has been learning Mandarin with Discovery Languages since April.

Why did you decide to study Mandarin?

“This coincided with lockdown, supporting my son who also needed something to focus on. I would like to visit China in the future and learn a bit more about it. It will maybe come in useful in my job. It’s a bit different! I could have chosen an easier language, but this opens up the culture, for example learning how the characters are formed.”

“I expected to do just to ten weeks and then that would be it, but I kept going. My son will be sitting the Chinese HSK1 exams. I see it as a really positive experience, and it has kept us sane during lockdown. During the full lockdown earlier in the year, it provided an anchor point in the week and some structure.”

What is your day job?

“I am charge of fundraising at V&A Dundee. We are a charity and need to raise over £1 million per year towards the running costs.”

How might the Mandarin lessons help you with your job?

“At V&A we fly the flag for Scotland internationally. There are opportunities when the Chinese Consul General has visited the museum, and there will be future exhibitions. There are big markets in China for Scottish companies. China is the world’s second biggest economy and it is important to develop business links and cultural business diplomacy. They are potential partners, and it would be useful if there are Mandarin speakers from the V&A side.”


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