Zhejiang University Defining a New Era for International Education

HANGZHOU, China, Jan. 3, 2019 /Xinhua-AsiaNet/– The consensus is unequivocal. Javid, Maddelena and Xihang Wu are effusing about their experiences of student life at Zhejiang University’s hugely impressive Haining International Campus, which was opened in 2016 and is setting a revolutionary new template for modern academia.

“It is unique here,” says 23-year-old Javid, who is from Azerbaijan and in his second year of a Master’s in China Study. “Everything was taken into consideration when they made this international campus; the facilities are really modern and designed in a way that supports our academic and social life. People from anywhere in the world can feel at home here.”

The students reference a huge library, a gym, a music room, reading rooms and a growing extracurricular network as they discuss the merits of their environment, and Maddelena, who has studied Chinese language and culture and is an exchange student from Italy, asserts “it is very easy to live here, everything has been provided”.

Conversation turns to their education and the praise is ratcheted up a notch. “I’m Chinese and I came here to one of the top-ranked universities in the country because of the double degree award programs,” reveals Xihang. “I always believe that if you challenge yourself more you will get more opportunities. This campus has given me many opportunities. I feel we are given the chance to chase our dreams here, and maybe become the leaders of the future.”

Maddelena adds that she feels more challenged than ever before. “Here we are engaged in more discussions and we read many different scholars’ opinions. It gives me the ability to engage in a wider debate and to support my ideas — it is also preparing me for life outside of university.”

Ground-breaking partnerships between Zhejiang and some of the world’s top universities are helping to make Zhejiang University one of the most attractive universities in China for global education talents in China. The international campus is host to Zhejiang University-University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign Institute and Zhejiang University-University of Edinburgh Institute.

“What we offer students here is unique; the courses, the education and the residential college. This is a whole new education model, the collaboration between top universities and internationalisation. We are bringing new ideas together from different cultures in our partnership,” says Er’ping Li, Dean of ZJU-UIUC Institute.

“Our collaboration is a two-university partnership for undergraduate and graduates. Undergraduates can attain two degrees — one from ZJU and one from UoI. We have jointly developed new educational programs and models, so we have courses here that are unique to this partnership. The future is challenging, it doesn’t work just to solve a problem in one area, you have to understand more than one area to really solve a problem. So, the students follow a multi-disciplinary program, instead of a single pathway. We are training the students for future requirements.”

Students at Zhejiang University are also likely to find they could benefit from China’s economic strength and appetite for innovation, according to Professor Susan Welburn, Executive Dean of Zhejiang University-University of Edinburgh Institute.

“If you want a good quality education in a safe, vibrant environment, and especially if you want to be an innovator, then China is a really interesting place to come,” she says. “There are city deals everywhere in China, so if you do have a good idea in your final year or your post-graduate education then there is money available for you to take that idea and work with that innovative concept. That is very attractive for a large proportion of the students who come here, and we aim to be an incubator for developing the evolution of young people.”

Reflecting on the opportunities offered at Zhejiang University, Professor Welburn said, “If I had the chance now, I would study here! Being able to study at two of the best universities in the world and being able to have an immersive experience in a different culture while you are studying, I think that is an incredible opportunity for both sides — for the students who want to come here and engage in an international setting and also for international students who want to come out with a 4-year degree and an immersive experience in China with fluency in mandarin. What is not to like? And if you want to be a player in global innovation and research, you can’t ignore the rise of China.”

SOURCE: Zhejiang University

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