On September 2, Southern University of Science and Technology (SUSTech) welcomed 93 international exchange students from the University of Toronto, Korea University, Brandeis University, Rutgers University, and the State University of New York at Stony Brook to the SUSTech campus for their one-semester exchange trip.
The Global Embracement Program at SUSTech was established as a result of the continued impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, which forced many Chinese students who were supposed to study overseas to stay in China. Since its inception in the Fall semester of 2020, the Global Embracement Program has held three consecutive sessions, hosting nearly 500 Chinese exchange students at SUSTech.
Masks, hand sanitizers, alcohol wipes, and other epidemic prevention materials were prepared for the incoming exchange students by SUSTech Global due to the recent domestic transmitted cases reported since July 20. The 48-hour negative nucleic acid reports, health codes, and travel codes of all the exchange students were examined on their arrival.
In the one-stop check-in and registration process, students can complete a series of steps such as information checking, accommodation and insurance payment confirming, admission/dormitory commitment signing, campus card and material collecting at one time on the first floor of the dormitory, and then receive the key of their own room. The whole process can be completed in as fast as 10 minutes.
For better and quicker adaptation to the new SUSTech campus, students were invited to the orientation and campus tour organized by SUSTech Global on the morning of September 3.
Dr. Hao CHEN, Executive Deputy Director of SUSTech Global, first welcomed all the international exchange students on behalf of SUSTech. Dr. CHEN noted that internationalization is one of the three pillars of SUSTech. The University has an international campus environment with over 95 percent overseas-experienced faculty, an English-instructed curriculum, a bilingual campus, and decentralized education system for international students. SUSTech has established close collaboration with top universities and colleges, such as MIT, worldwide.
Dr. CHEN added that as a young university that has just celebrated its 10th anniversary, SUSTech had made it to the world's top 200 for the first time in the 2022 Times Higher Education World University Rankings, ranking 9th among mainland Chinese universities, and also has notable achievements in other world university rankings. He emphasized that SUSTech always pursues the substantial development of a first-class research university beyond the ranking itself. He wished all the international exchange students could learn and grow in the coming exchange semester and welcomed them to communicate with him or other members of SUSTech Global at any time.
Afterward, Ms. Lu LU from the Office of Teaching Affairs gave an introduction on course selection for the undergraduate students. International exchange students are free to take or not to take courses in SUSTech according to the requirements of their home universities or their own preference. As usual, exchange students can add and drop classes online as all other SUSTech students do in the first three weeks of the semester. As many international exchange students have plans to take SUSTech's courses, they raised many questions during the Q&A session, to which Ms. LU answered them all.
Ms. Fang WANG from SUSTech Global then introduced the campus environment and regulations of the University. She briefly introduced the campus facilities such as the libraries, canteen, stadium, on-campus transportation, and the community health center. She also emphasized the epidemic prevention and control measures currently in place on campus and university regulations.
Two senior students who participated in the Global Embracement program at SUSTech last semester were also invited to this orientation. Ms. Ya QIU from the State University of New York at Stony Brook and Mr. Hanxiang LIN from Rutgers University shared their experiences from the perspective of exchange students and introduced the similarities and differences between SUSTech and North American universities in terms of the curriculum and campus life.
Due to strict compliance with epidemic prevention and control regulations, a dozen students remained in their dormitories for self-health monitoring. Consequently, they could not attend the orientation. Therefore, a live stream via Zoom was set up for them so that they could watch the orientation online.
The exchange students were then given a campus tour after the orientation. Two university counselors of SUSTech Global, Mr. Yiwei JIANG and Ms. Lixinyu YANG, led the tour. Setting off from the Administration Building, they introduced to the exchange students the campus buildings and facilities such as the libraries, lecture halls, research buildings, and canteens along the way, so that the students could quickly get familiar with the SUSTech campus.
On the evening of September 3, representatives of the international exchange students also participated in the SUSTech 2021 Commencement Ceremony, together with more than 2,000 new undergraduate and graduate students of the University.
The international exchange students for the 2021 Fall semester have started the next chapter of their academic life at SUSTech. We hope they will learn and grow from the exchange experience, have a fruitful time, and build beautiful memories at SUSTech.