International starts here
The reluctant sex expert Sam vs Front
no. 10 March 21, 2013
Independent magazine of Tilburg University
text Malini Witlox photography Chensiyuan/Wikimedia Commons
The China Connection
Exactly one year ago, Tilburg University opened its own office in China with the aim to attract more Chinese PhD students and top students, and to strengthen the relationship with China’s leading universities.
n these times of cutbacks, having a Beijing office is a big expense. But when you want to be successful in China, you need an office here, says Jacques van Vliet, Academic Liaison Officer. Especially in view of the so-called guanxi, Chinese for networking. “In the Netherlands, we keep in touch via phone and email, but if you want to achieve anything here, personal contact is very important.” Some universities take their physical presence to the extreme. New York University is currently building a campus in Shanghai. The universities of Liverpool and Nottingham have set up a collaborative project with some Chinese universities, resulting in courses in their curriculums to be taught in Chinese as well.
Because of its internationalization policy, Tilburg University has been active in China since 2003. Ten years later, universities across the world are fighting over talented Chinese students and PhD students. Every year, China’s top universities receive
Univers 21 maart 2013
300 delegations from various countries. There is much potential here. In 2011 300,000 Chinese students went abroad (over half of them went to the USA), and it’s expected that this number will rise to 645,000 in 2025. In collaboration with various faculties, Van Vliet developed Fast Track, which allows Chinese students to find out within weeks if they have a shot at attending Tilburg University. That’s very important, because Chinese students often apply to several universities abroad. Tilburg University used to leave their definitive answer until quite late, and therefore sometimes missed out. By curbing the procedure, the university is able to secure students earlier. The China Office also works on attracting talented PhD students, which are eligible for a scholarship from the Chinese Scholarship Council (CSC). These scholarships are funded by the Chinese government and pay for the PhD students’ first 48 months, after which Tilburg University is responsible for their salaries. Up until 2011, hardly any PhD students came to Tilburg with a Chinese
Yi Shan, 23 years old, International Business Law student “I gained my Bachelor’s degree in General Law at Nanjing University. I really wanted to do a Master’s program abroad. The teaching style in Tilburg is very different. The Chinese are more introvert than Dutch students, some don’t even raise their hands when they have a question. In China, the lecturer is really the only one who speaks in class and students have to memorize a lot. Here, classes are interactive and students often work together, while in China, the lectures are more individually oriented and hierarchic. I like it very much so far, I’m in an international class with various nationalities. I live at the Westermarkt, in a student house with three Chinese students, which I arranged via the housing association. I spend much time at the sports centre, where I work out three times a week and took some dance classes. After finishing my degree, I’d like to return to China, but first, I want to do my internship here. That hasn’t worked out yet, since I don’t speak Dutch. I’d like to take a language course at the university, but it’s completely full.”
scholarship. Since then, the ties with the Scholarship Council have been intensified. There have been interviews with 23 PhD students last year, of which 12 eventually came to Tilburg. The China Office is also in charge of promotion. The Office’s employees are on the Chinese versions of Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. They also send newsletters and have developed a Chinese website within the Tilburg University brand, aimed at the students’ parents, who often don’t speak English. Van Vliet explains, “Visitors to the site are likely to come from Beijing, Shanghai and the north of China. Up until now, the number of students from the north is rather low, so we will increase our efforts in that direction.”
China. “China has a very low number of international students in any case. Many courses are exclusively taught in Chinese.” In the current academic year, as part of the Study Abroad program, 22 students from Tilburg went to China for a semester-long exchange. Twelve of them went to Hong Kong, ten went to Beijing, one to Shanghai and one to Jinan.
Cash is needed Chinese students coming to Tilburg need to have some cash on their hands. As a non-EU student, they are required to pay the institutional tuition fee. A Bachelor’s costs 6,000 euros, while a Master’s costs 10,500 euros. However, students can apply for a scholarship. Through the Tilburg University Scholarship for Academic Excellence, 35 scholarships were awarded in 2012. The International Office says four of those went to Chinese students. Faculties can also award scholarships, which would amount to 10 to 15 grants for Chinese students. Most Chinese students annually put 20,000 euros towards their studies, including housing and living costs. Tilburg University’s Policy Officer Internationalisation, Guido van Leerzem says, “The University aims to have a mix of cultures in the classroom. The Chinese have a different perspective from Europeans on, for example, Human Resource Management or Law. This is beneficial to the students. We would like to see our students going to China in due course as well. We could teach Chinese Law in the Netherlands, but it makes more sense that students take such a course in China.” →
的蒂尔 堡 Double degree programs
There are over 3,000 higher education institutes in China, but not all universities offer high-quality education. Van Vliet says: “We only accept students who have attended a respected Chinese university for at least a year. We have compiled a list of about 200 leading universities. Within Fast Track, a quick scan separates the students who are in with a chance – because of their prior education and motivation – from those who are unlikely to be accepted. Additionally, Tilburg works closely with eight specific universities. These now offer double degree programs, which allow students to study one year in Tilburg and one year in China, resulting in a degree from both universities. Although the collaboration with these universities is officially meant to go in both directions, rector Philip Eijlander says that hardly any Dutch students go to
Univers 21 maart 2013
Univers Magazine, 21 maart 2013. www.universonline.nl Uitgeverij: Tilburg University. Auteur: Malini Witlox