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  • 马里那斯·范德博教授

    (Teacher 荷兰莱顿大学)

    Summer school of Renmin University with choice courses and sound procedures provides golden opportunities for students to acquire new knowledge and approach the frontier of studies.

  • Anne Holopainen

    (Student 芬兰)

    The one on one volunteer service of Summer School is excellent. Through the communication and interaction with volunteers, I glimpsed and experienced life in RUC in a very real sense.

> Voices
Top flight foreign staff teach summer school

By 21st Century News Paper

  Top flight foreign staff teach summer school
 
   Many Chinese students have been captivated by open source online courses given by professors from top overseas universities. They wish they could be in the lecture hall instead of crouching in front of their computers. Then they could engage in heated discussion like their foreign peers.
 
   But their dream could come true. Professors from renowned universities including Harvard and Cambridge have come to China to give summer courses. It’s not a fleeting guest lecture but a three-week course.
 
   Renmin University of China (RUC) started its summer school program in 2009 and made it different. It invited top flight teachers from prestigious foreign universities to lecture. The courses cover a wide range from science and technology to economics and sociology.
 
   The program is not for RUC students exclusively. Students from overseas and other domestic universities can sign up for the courses. Students not at RUC need to pay 6,500 yuan for six or seven credits in the summer school. However, many of them think it’s worth it.
 
   Zhu Fangsheng, 20, a fresh grad majoring in sociology from Zhejiang University, is going to study in the US for a master’s degree this fall. He traveled to Beijing to join the program in order to have a preview of US-style education.
 
“I was impressed by the professors’ methods, which encouraged students’ independent thinking,” said Zhu. “It’s very different from the style of professors in Chinese universities.”
 
   Professor Zhao Dingxin from Chicago University gave the course “Society and Political Movements”. He always started his lectures by asking students to air their own opinions about the topic. He wrote them down on the blackboard for further discussion. Students rather than lecturers raised questions.
 
   RUC surveyed 2,779 students who attended the summer school last year. What did they gain from it? “Improvement in independent thinking” was ranked the second on the chart. “Taking classes with foreign students” was ranked the fifth.
 
   The diversity of students’ nationalities offers young people the opportunity to learn about other countries and cultures, according to Xuan Tianying, deputy director of the academic affairs office at RUC.
 
   “In the age of globalization, they are very likely to meet foreign colleagues in their future career,” said Xuan. “The broad vision and openness acquired from the experience will be of great help.”
   Chinese students can also sign up to be teaching assistants and foreign classmates’ partners.
 
   Zhang Huasheng, 21, a junior majoring in accounting at RUC, has volunteered to partner foreign students for three years. They spend time together, shopping and sightseeing, throughout the program.
 
   “I learned about foreign young people’s lifestyle and values,” said Zhang.
 
   In Zhang’s eyes, his foreign have minds of their own. While many Chinese peers are mature and students choose their majors following theirêcollege parents’ suggestions, most foreign youngsters can draw a clear and detailed path towards their ideal work and life.
 
   “I was inspired by my conversations with these new friends,” Zhang added. “It’s good to be open to things you don’t know about.”
 
   He also wants to broaden his knowledge by taking all the summer school courses that he is interested in. But a student can select three courses at most and the capacity of a course is usually only 30 persons.
 
   “We hope the university allows us to sit in on the courses we haven’t chosen, so that the summer school can better serve the purpose of widening students’ eyes to the world’s leading education,” said Zhang.
 
Box: Credit where credit’s due
Overseas college students enroll in summer school classes for credit to be taken into account in their grade point average.
 
   Students can obtain credit for classes to accelerate progress toward a degree or lessen the load of courses during the regular school year.
 
   The study load is heavy, and few extracurricular activities are included in the program.
 
   The cost of one credit, especially at the prestigious universities, is much more expensive than that in the RUC international summer school.
 
   For example, a student needs to pay $1,500 (about 9,671 yuan) for one credit in the summer school program in Miami University.