China / Education

Increased exchanges, scholarships prioritized

By Tan Yingzi in Chongqing (China Daily) Updated: 2016-09-29 08:29

Southwest University in Chongqing plans to increase exchanges and develop scholarships with educational institutions in countries included in the Belt and Road Initiative.

The initiative, proposed by President Xi Jinping in 2013, is expected to enhance cooperation between China and Central Asia, the Middle East, Europe and Southeast Asia.

"Currently most of our overseas students come from the Belt and Road regions, such as Kazakhstan, Thailand and Vietnam," said Liu Meng, deputy director of SWU International College. "In the future, the school will make more efforts to attract students from those areas with better scholarship programs."

Chongqing, the fourth municipality under the direct leadership of the central government, after Beijing, Shanghai and Tianjin, stands at a critical juncture linking the hinterlands with neighboring countries, thanks to the Chongqing-Xinjiang-Europe International Railway.

The nearly 11,180-kilometer link begins in Chongqing, crosses the border into Kazakhstan, and passes through Russia, Belarus and Poland before reaching its terminus in Duisburg, Germany.

Increased exchanges, scholarships prioritized

As one of the "211 Project" universities - the top 100 universities in the 21st century supported by the central government - SWU excels in pedagogy, psychology and agriculture research.

Since the 1950s, the university has been enrolling international students. Now there are more than 800 students from 60 countries and regions studying at SWU for their bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees, or for Chinese language studies.

"By 2020, the number of international students on campus every year will reach 2,000, with 55 percent of them undertaking degree programs," Liu said.

The school offers a wide range of scholarships for international students, including the Chinese Government Scholarship, Confucius Institute Scholarship, Chongqing Municipal Government Mayor Scholarship and Southwest University President Scholarship.

Local motor giant Zongshen Industrial Group also set up a special program to offer full scholarships to students from Belarus or Russian-speaking countries who pursue master degrees at SWU.

As a member of the Sino-Russian Alliance of Pedagogical Universities, a SWU delegation visited Russia in early June to enhance exchanges with counterparts there, including Yaroslavl State Pedagogical University and Moscow City Teacher Training University.

SWU has also developed innovative joint programs with Thai universities. Since 2014, students at Panyapiwat Institute of Management can earn credits for studying Chinese at SWU. Khon Kaen University and SWU set up a dual degree program.

"In addition to its academic advantages, SWU boasts first-class teaching and living facilities for international students," Liu said.

The garden-style campus at the foot of Jinyun Mountain offers a nice study environment, said Ly Gia Yen from Vietnam.

"I will miss the campus very much after I return to my hometown," said Ly, a doctoral candidate in pedagogy.

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