Lars Erik is one of the students already @Tsinghua. Together with Professor Jingue Li he had the opportunity to share his experience about his staying in Tsinghua, China. Enjoy his feedback :).
Jingue Li : What are your positive experiences studying in Tsinghua in China?
Lars Erik: I think the first thing I think of as all the international friends I mean. I think at Tsinghua was very afraid of coming here and being the only foreigner and only have to have meet Chinese or people like talk English as try to become friends with them. I think that at Tsinghua there’s about 2000 international exchange students. So it’s extremely easy to make international friends here. But the thing is that’s maybe when I think about it’s not really unique for Tsinghua. I mean you will get international friends no matter where you go on exchange. I think what’s particularly good about studying in China is that China is cheap. I mean I’m making from the Stipendium from Lånekassen one point five times as much as a doctor in China. So you can buy and you live like a king. You can buy the food you want you can buy all the clothes you want. And China is very central so you can travel a lot to all the different places in Asia. I think one thing and that’s kind of Asia or China in general is very cheap. Specifically for Tsinghua I think what makes this school unique is that it’s the best university in China and you really notice that it’s the best university in China because for example when I’m traveling I say that I attend Tsinghua and people start whispering “Oh he go to Tsinghua Wow”. It’s incredible because I think zero point zero two percent of the people or zero point zero or 2 percent of the top students they get accepted. Was extremely fascinating to see these people which are extremely talented and hardworking. It’s very cool experience to talk to these people and get their perspectives on different things.
Jingue Li: So what are the important challenges you can mention before and during your stay and how do you address them.
Lars Erik: I think maybe the first challenge I could think of is the difference in culture. And I was really expecting the culture in China to be very difficult to accumulate to. For example Chinese people aren’t known for being the best English speakers. But I was very surprised when I arrived in China because on campus almost you live on campus and almost everybody on campus or everybody on campus can speak English. And when you go outside of campus where people have more room for improvement in their English it’s just to take a Google Translate I mean if you translate them. So after a while you sort of get used to it you see it as more like a chiming thing. And it’s very used to just taking up your phone and for normal things like ordering food or getting a taxi you know I how to say the Chinese words for it in very simple sentences. Another challenge I think I was very afraid that when I arrived at Tsinghua which is like China’s lead school it was only going to be about studying. I was afraid I was gonna have to study 12 hours a day every day no breaks but to my astonishment and to my surprise it’s actually very possible to just work normal hours like four or five six hours during the weekdays and every weekends off. There’s even some people that choose to study maybe three or four days and take and go on trips or around Asia during during their time off. So it’s very individual how, because most of the work is project based it’s very individual how much or how much you want academically. So you could say it’s very individual. So you can choose yourself. I think that’s my biggest difficulty studying at Tsinghua.
Jingue Li: Why do you think NTNU students should spend time at Tsinghua.
Lars Erik: Well firstly I think that China has been misjudged as a place to do an exchange. I can only speak for myself but I thought China would be very hard, because of the difference in culture. I thought it would be very like rigid in their system like you have to study so much all the time. And the reason people go or at least my reason to go studying or exchange is to have a very new experience. I want to have meet a lot of new people and I want to have a very good time and to be honest at Tsinghua I met so many international like 2000 different international students. It’s very individual how you have to work. I’m having a very good time. And on top of that I’m experience a very unique culture like the Chinese culture is super unique and it’s very big you and can feel like one point three billion people. And it’s very cool to see this kind of different culture. I’ve never experienced before. On top of this you also can go to like the best school in Asia which has all the benefits of you meet very very unique hardworking people. You get for example Elon Musk has come and had a speech Mark Zuckerberg comes and have a speech. You have the top executive of the best company. He’s just sitting in the lecture room and you sit around and like him bringing like 20 people you can ask him any questions you want. And you never get these kinds of experiences. I think you got to look a long way to find experiences this cool except from Tsinghua.
Jingue Li: How is studying at Tsinghua relevant to your career?
Lars Erik: I think first of all if you have Tsinghua on your resume you can get a job anywhere you want. Especially in China. I think that once the world gets more globalized where China’s economy is growing. I think that also the Chinese universities are going to get more recognition worldwide. So I think within five or six years having Tsinghua on the CV will open a lot of force because they know the quality of the students going here. And I also think that a lot of things, I mean for a career you’re looking for something new and different and stand out from the other applicants. And having studied in China at the best school in China I think really stands out and makes a difference in your résumé. And thirdly I think that having a new cultural perspective because of the uniqueness of China and the bigger part China is playing in the world economy. I think it’s very good to have this perspective of China because almost any business in some way will do business with China either it’s buying goods directly from them or maybe it wants to go into new markets. I think China’s always an attractive target.
Jingue Li: How did you learn about IPIT?
Lars Erik: I learned about IPIT when I talked to when I was going on exchange and the person approving my grades was Letizia. Yeah. And she told me about the program that were opening up and she recommended that I should apply especially because I’m going to exchange. Which is one of the partnering universities with the IPIT program.
Jingue Li: So how does the exchange through IPIT influence your stay in China?
Lars Erik: Well I think the thing that influences the most is that it helps paying for the tuition because I didn’t get a tuition through NTNU and I had to pay for the tuition myself. But it helps very economically that IPIT helps to pay for it.
Jingue Li: Is IPIT relevant to your major?
Lars Erik: Yes. I mean it’s first of all I mean it’s an initiative to make students in Norway going abroad especially to China where top universities where Tsinghua is one. So I think it’s highly relevant for me as a technology MTDT student at IDI, NTNU.
Jingue Li: What additional facilities do you expect from IPIT, namely networking, tutoring, supervision counseling?
Lars Erik: Well I know that IPIT is a very new program so I would just guess that they’re networking and their sort of routines is not in place yet. So to be honest I didn’t have any… I wasn’t expecting anything of it. So I was just very happy to be helping my university make global connections because I really want to help other Norwegian students having a good perspective of various study. So I was just happy that’s in addition to be able to help. I was also getting help to pay down tuition.
Jingue Li: Would you recommend it to other students? If yes, why?
Lars Erik: Well first of all I think if you are applying to Tsinghua for example or one of the other partnering universities you don’t lose anything for applying IPIT. They will help you with network at the universities they will help you with financial aid. So I don’t think there is any reason not to apply. So for me it’s just been a good experience.
Lars Erik: So yeah I would definitely recommend it.
Jingue Li: Yes. So how can you help IPIT toto do research contributing to future students in their exchange?
Lars Erik: I think I can tell a lot about my experiences as an exchange here at Tsinghua, because there is a lot of different universities to have different partnerships with Tsinghua for example often Aachen University has a double degree program. That’s a lot of my friends are attending and if I give or talk about all these different programs maybe I can inspire IPIT with different ways that other universities have made a helping contribution with the Tsinghua University
Jingue Li: How can IPIT help increasing the number of outgoing NTNU students?
Lars Erik: I think can help by giving all the students knowledge about how it is actually exchanging because if you ever talk to anybody from Norway that’s been on exchange all of them love it. I think the fact is that’s going on the exchange is very fun. You learn so much as so many positive things you can name just a bunch of them. There’s very few negative things about the exchange, so I think as long as you give information to the students, if you inspire them, if you get ambassadors to inform them about the possibility, I think more people would do it. People like what they are familiar with. I mean people want to do the same things over and over but if they get enough information about friends doing it and other people doing it I think it really would help to push them to do this.
Jingue Li: So how can IPIT contribute in increasing the number of incoming students at NTNU?
Lars Erik: I think one of the ways IPIT can help increase the number of incoming students would be to have collaborations with Tsinghua, which focuses on… for example like Aachen has a dual degree program where 40 students from Aachen go to Tsinghua for one year and they get a degree for Tsinghua and 40 students from Aachen go to Tsinghua to do a degree. So it’s like a trading, so they trade the students back and forth. For example by putting these plans into place I think it will really help sending Chinese students to NTNU.