The story appears on

Page C5

April 14, 2010

GET this page in PDF

Free for subscribers

View shopping cart

Related News

Home » Feature

Golden Gate exchange students

BOTH San Francisco and Shanghai have a high concentration of universities in and around their urban areas.

Educational exchange between the two cities is increasingly important. Exchange of people and knowledge fosters cultural understanding, business links, trust and future possibilities.

For young students on both sides, exchanges are an exciting experience of a lifetime.

Shanghai released its 10-year education development plans that emphasize allocating more resources to attracting foreign students to the city's schools, and also sending Shanghai students abroad to study.

The goal is to increase the percentage of overseas students in local colleges to 15 percent in 2020, compared with around 6 percent in 2008, according to the Outline for Medium and Long-term Education Reform and Development published at the end of March.

Shanghai Fudan University, one of China's most prestigious institutes of higher education, has well-established student exchange programs that attract hundreds of students every term.

According to Bao Jun, Fudan's international programs director, courses in Chinese language, Chinese society, politics and international relations are popular among American students, including those from California.

Set up in the 1980s, Fudan's International Cultural Exchange School is one of the earliest such institutes in China.

"We hope international students can understand more about China, and particularly Shanghai's culture and history through their exchange. We hope they will make connections with our professors and students. Most of all we hope they get a different perspective on China's situation, its politics and economics," says Bao. "They may already have a view about this country from the outside, but it's important for them to know how Chinese people view these issues from the inside. Through this, our friendship can be strengthened."

One of Fudan's most popular programs is an exchange with the University of California. The program, which was established in 2005, attracts 50 to 60 students every term for six-month courses in Chinese economics, society, politics and language.

Participant Eva Hsu, 21, is a San Francisco native and a fourth-year student at UC Davis. From difficult beginnings in which nothing made sense and she couldn't understand the language, she is settling into the city and what she calls a "life-changing experience."

"I chose China because I am Chinese American and wanted to explore my roots first before traveling to places like Europe," Hsu says. "I wanted to travel to China and explore, see how classes are run here and immerse myself into the culture and the city."

Her favorite classes are Chinese language, as basic phrases can be used straight away to interact with the city and to understand the way things work.

Classes such as the transformation of the Chinese economy in the past few decades and Chinese history seen from China have also been eye-openers as they are not taught in mainstream history or economics courses at home.

Hsu says Shanghai, far more densely populated than San Francisco, is also a lot more modern than she expected, with diverse architecture, entertainment venues, and people from all over the world.

Though she's just in beginning of her exchange program, she already feels as if she has found some of the roots she was seeking.

"My parents have many traditional Chinese values and habits which I never understood growing up. But having been here and seen where it comes from, it now clicks," Hsu says. "When I go back home I think I'll also appreciate anew all the conveniences I took for granted."


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend