International students at Duke Kunshan University share their expectations for studying in China

Source:Global Times Published: 2019/8/12 16:08:39

Newly admitted international students visit Duke Kunshan University in East China's Jiangsu Province in April. Photo: Courtesy of Duke Kunshan University

As a new semester starts in late August, universities around the world will welcome new students to their campuses. Duke Kunshan University in East China's Jiangsu Province, started by Duke University in the US and China's Wuhan University, will see a number of international students begin their studies there. The Global Times asked some of these students about their expectations and what they hope to get out of the experience.

Reika Shimomura, Japan

What plans do you have while studying in China?

Global health is my intended major at Duke Kunshan University (DKU). When there was an outbreak of Ebola in 2014, I learned about health disparities from the media. Some populations do not have the same health information or access to the health systems as other populations. This created confusion and misunderstanding among the populations and became a part of the big issues in treating and preventing Ebola. 

As I have an interest in technology and computer sciences, I want to learn more about how they can be applied in the medical field. How can technology facilitate the tasks of spreading accurate information and providing the treatment people really need? 

I believe that reducing disparity within a small community can help to maintain the health of surrounding communities and eventually the entire globe as well.   

From what I learned, the role of China in the Ebola outbreak was one of the biggest contributions. China is rapidly growing in terms of the economy and technology. Thus, China is the best location to study the application of technology and artificial intelligence in global health.  

In addition to that, I want to learn the beautiful language, Chinese. The best way to do that is being surrounded by people who speak Chinese. Being able to communicate in Chinese is becoming more demanding in every country and I hope to learn about the culture too. 

Is there anything you'd like to share about the first trip to China you took in April? 

After a trip to Suzhou, we had Suzhou cuisine for dinner. As one of the students at the student panel recommended, I tried every dish that the restaurant offered us to explore the different flavors. 

At our table, we learned about Suzhou cuisine and some Chinese phrases as well, [such as] wo yao yi bei shui (I want a cup of water). We ordered some water after eating spicy soup. However, I was surprised to receive hot water. This is how we learned that drinking cold water is not usual in Chinese culture. Next time I go to a restaurant, I plan to say wo yao yi bei bingshui (I want a cup of ice water) to see if this is true for every restaurant. I had a fun conversation with everyone, and I do aspire to be a fluent Chinese speaker in the near future.

Nicholas Kovacich, Italy

What plans do you have while studying in China?

I love the blend of ancient traditions and innovation, and I've found this blend perfectly reflected in one of the DKU's humanities research center programs, which starts from studying the philosophical traditions of both European and Chinese culture and ends up by taking advantage of them to produce a philosophical reflection on the nature of today's innovative pillars, such as artificial intelligence and all the ethical issues related to it. Since technology innovates faster than our souls, I hope to explore the ways that traditions can guide us through a rapidly evolving world with our souls alongside.

In 2008, I represented Italy in the international final stages of the Chinese Bridge competition in Kunming. We met people from all over the world and became close friends with many of them. That gave me a taste of what life is going to be in China.

Charlie Colasurdo, US

What plans do you have while studying in China?

Having studied Chinese for seven years and traveled extensively throughout China and Southeast Asia, I've developed a true and demonstrated interest in living in Asia - before, during, and after college. Based on my passion for Asian languages, culture and business, it's no surprise that DKU is a huge draw for me. 

DKU's Chinese Society and Culture courses, in conjunction with intense language immersion, would ensure that I'd not only graduate as a proficient Chinese speaker but that I'd also be able to use my Chinese and cultural experiences to further my interests in business. I believe that my unique perspective as a US student living in Asia will eventually help me bridge the gap between US companies seeking to do business in China and vice versa. 

For me, the most immersive way to learn about China and Chinese culture is to live and study there. I also feel that I will make an authentic ambassador for both DKU and China. I seek to use my talents as both a writer and photographer to showcase a range of educational and cultural experiences to a new generation of US students. 

Newspaper headline: Hopes & dreams


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