STUDENTS from around the globe are making Ambleside their home after enrolling on the University of Cumbria’s first ever international course.
Outdoor enthusiasts from countries including China, Australia and Germany are among the 17 students spending the Autumn term in the Lake District as part of their masters in Transcultural European Outdoor Studies.
The qualification is the first of its kind and is being run by the university, Germany’s University of Marburg and Norway’s School of Sport Sciences.
Course leader Dr. Christopher Loynes said: “Within this time frame, our ambition is to make the course a coveted choice for people interested in pursuing a career in the outdoor field. We also aim to develop tight links with non-European universities and make the course truly global. Eventually, we plan to make the course financially self-sustaining through the charging of student fees.”
The course will be funded by the European Commission for the next five years and once students have left Ambleside in the New Year they will spend their next two terms at the other institutions.
While some of the students area already experienced in outdoor studies, for many this is a new area of knowledge and expertise.
Katerina Pata from Greece, who previously studied to be a pre-school teacher, said:“I couldn’t find a relevant masters course in Greece and applied for courses elsewhere in Europe. I liked this course because I get a chance to go to three different countries and learn various approaches to the subject. My goal is to make the concept of outdoor learning more prominent in my country and create my own outdoor kindergarten.”
However, others come to the course with a lot of experience like Wilson Wai Yin Cheung who is a former president of the mountaineering association of Hong Kong.
The students, who come from 15 countries, will be living in university accommodation in Ambleside and learning the theoretical knowledge and practical qualifications necessary to be successful outdoor industry professionals.
During their first semester they will undertake two week-long hiking expeditions, one in the Scottish Highlands and one in the Lake District and a week-long canoeing trip.
ZANY Steven Hall is urging people to vote for him after he performs in front of millions of TV viewers on Britain’s Got Talent tonight.
The 53-year-old telecommunications engineer will represent Cumbria when he takes to the stage for the live semi-final with a new dance routine.
Having taken the nation by storm with his eclectic two-minute act, which saw him perform a dance to The Birdy Song, The Macarena and The Twist, he has become an overnight success.
He has gained more than 1.5 million views on YouTube and more than a thousand fans on his official Facebook site.
So, what has he got lined up for the biggest performances of his life tonight?
“It was said: ‘How am I going to follow that?’ Because the element of surprise has gone,” he said.
“So I have taken what everybody said they would expect me to do next and not done it.”
Life has changed for the Burneside Amateur Theatrical Society member since he gained three ‘yes’ votes from Amanda Holden, Michael McIntyre and David Hasselhoff, and a standing ovation from the Liverpool crowd.
“It was the second best experience of my life, but I can’t tell you the first one,” he jokes.
“Since then, it has been so busy I haven’t had time to think about it.
"I have been to London several times for interviews and rehearsals.”
Having performed in theatres across the Lake District, Steven set up Comedy Showtime two years ago, a five-person act that puts on performances across the region.
From this, a 10-minute dance evolved which came to form the basis of his BGT audition.
If Steven is successful tonight, he will make it through to Saturday’s live final.
If victorious in the final, he will perform in front of The Queen at The Royal Variety Performance and win £100,000.
“I am nervous and confident about tonight,” he said.
“Nervous because Simon Cowell is back on the show and he is held in such anticipation about what he has thought of the acts that have gone through while he’s been away.
"But I am confident of my routine. I’m looking forward to it.”