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Training the skills needed for a global world

Reporter: Shi Wenjing 丨 CCTV.com

06-08-2016 13:14 BJT

International talent has been THE buzzword in education for years. Cross-cultural communication and language skills, as well as the ability to adapt to different cultural settings have become the must-haves for top college graduates.

The demand for Sino-foreign universities has increased as China opens up further to the rest of the world.

19-year-old Haider is from Pakistan and is a sophomore student at NYU-Shanghai. He has just come back from a service trip from a remote county in China’s Guizhou Province, and is sharing stories of his unique experience with his team. The group built a playground for a local primary school.

Haider said, "We had meaningful conversations with the locals. we tend to think we have so many resources in big cities. We pay less attention to those who live in the remote areas who are less privileged than us. The experience made me feel we need to appreciate the life and resources that we have."

On the other side of the campus, Chinese student Yao Xiaoyun is experiencing her first class of interactive media arts. Her schoolmates come from 62 countries around the world. She says her experience has taught her more about culture than she ever could have learned from books alone.

Yao said, "Living in this cross-cultural learning environment, I got the chance to learn how to respect the differences - between different cultures. And I also learned how to think independently in such a diverse environment."

NYU Shanghai tries to combine the best parts of Chinese and American education. Its 2013 inaugural undergraduate class hails from all over the world.

"We have a perfect partner for NYU with the China East Normal University for the creation and cooperation of the school. My own personal partner here is Yu Lizhong. We have so much in common. We have a shared world view about the importance of the international globalisation, international education. We were each president of each universities," said Jeffrey Lehman, vice chancellor of New York University Shanghai.

"So we have a sense of what makes university works well. We have the chance to share ideas everyday. His office is next to mine. We brainstorm together. That relationship I think it is really the key to the success between two institutions."

As the city looks outward, Shanghai is a test field for many try-outs. The cooperation between Chinese and foreign universities creates a new kind of higher-education model for students to become international talents.

Alain Chilles teaches math at a joint institute that serves students from Shanghai Jiaotong University and four top French engineering schools.

Alain is a fan of traditional Chinese medicine and Chinese culture and tries to incorporate Chinese elements into his teaching material.

The institute employs an even mix of foreign and Chinese professors. Sixty-percent of the institute's faculty were born abroad.

He said, "It is a real challenge for me to teach and to live in China. I have found it really interesting so far. We help our students build a solid foundation in math and physics. I’ve learned some Chinese. Our students have learned some French. Communication with the students is great."

Xu Qiwei is in his last year at school. He is majoring in mechanical engineering. He and his team designed this barrier-free vehicle as their graduation project.

"I think our four years here has provided us with an international foundation that is needed in today’s world. Most of our courses are taught in French. We didn’t speak French before, now we are all able to communicate well," said Xu.

"Besides, the French course structure gave us a solid foundation in engineering, math, and physics. I don’t feel nervous about going to study in France this coming September."

To ensure its students are internationally connected, all of the institute's students have opportunities to study at the four best engineering institutes in France.

"The cooperation is very important project for the founding of French schools. International higher education system has been very globalized in the past five years. It is important that we can convince our international partners and especially our Chinese partners of the value of the specifics of French approach of engineering education," said Joaquim Nassar, French dean of SJTU-Paris Tech Elite Institute of Technology.

The role of Sino-foreign universities is important for Beijing's education reform plans. And give Chinese students the chance to learn at world-class education institutions here at home.

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