Beyond its fame as the "most beautiful university in China", Xiamen University tells a tale of opening-up and hard work, an international media team discovered.
Sitting with members of the "A Date with China" international media tour within a western-style classroom architecture, three international faculty members and seven international students shared their stories with the university and China.
William Brown, 66, professor of organizational behavior of the university's School of Management, said he is a "Xiamener" in the local dialect. He moved from the US to China with his family in 1988 and has been teaching in the university ever since.
Prof. William Brown. [Photo/chinadaily.com.cn]
"The reason Xiamen University is the first choice by foreign students is they are open-minded because this is the Chinese mainland engine and the start of the ancient maritime Silk Road."
Having witnessed China's remarkable changes and development during the past 30 plus years, the professor also has been a part of the process. He said the thing he really appreciates is that his students are engaged in China's poverty alleviating work in areas like Ningxia and Xinjiang.
Brown is one of the first international MBA teachers introduced to China in the late 1980s, when Xiamen University was the only university to provide accommodation and other facilities for international faculty and their families.
Xiamen University became China's first high education institute to found an overseas branch campus in Kuala Lumpur of Malaysia in 2014.
Hong Jinyeong from the Republic of Korea, a Chinese international education major undergraduate, was happy to return to his dream campus after serving the military term for his country and living through the COVID-19 pandemic. He thought he did not miss the universality's centennial celebration despite attending remotely in April of 2021 because his teachers and classmates kept him updated with the happenings of campus online.
"Now, nearly five years after I first came here, I am working hard to realize my dream of putting on the bachelor gown, smelling with the scent of campus herbs and blooms, the same as when I first came here," he said.
Bekkeldiyeva Eldana's dream is becoming an excellent Chinese language teacher teaching non-speakers the language. The Chinese international education master student from Kazakhstan said her dream is to bridge the two countries using language and culture.
Bekkeldiyeva Eldana. [Photo/chinadaily.com.cn]
During her second year of her master's study, she went back to her home country and worked as intern to teach the Chinese language and traditional Chinese painting at a Confucius Institute. "So I want to return to my home country in the near future and practise my skills in the multiple cooperation between China and Kazakhstan and contribute to the friendly relations between the two countries", she said.
Xiamen University was founded by Tan Kah Kee, a patriotic overseas Chinese business pioneer and philanthropist in his home city in 1921 and is China's first university funded by an overseas Chinese citizen.