Learning mathematics on an exchange program in China: the student's and lecturers' views | Статья в сборнике международной научной конференции

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Якушина, М. Ю. Learning mathematics on an exchange program in China: the student's and lecturers' views / М. Ю. Якушина, Хонгвей Лиу, В. С. Кашпарова, В. Ю. Синицын. — Текст : непосредственный // Педагогика: традиции и инновации : материалы IX Междунар. науч. конф. (г. Казань, январь 2018 г.). — Казань : Бук, 2018. — С. 93-96. — URL: https://moluch.ru/conf/ped/archive/274/13590/ (дата обращения: 18.05.2022).

This article is about exchange education and an exchange student's own experience of going to China to study mathematics. The exchange student shares her personal impressions about participation in an exchange program, about the necessary preparations, about studying in China and Chinese culture. A Chinese university professor shares his views about academic exchanges. The importance of promotion of academic mobility in higher education is emphasized.

Key words: academic mobility, student exchange program, systems of education, studying mathematics in China.

This year I had an opportunity to take part in an exchange program between Russian and Chinese universities. I was a second year student of the Moscow State University of Education majoring in mathematics and information technologies. I decided that was my chance to enrich my knowledge about Asia, to get to know more about their culture and to compare different systems of education.

This exchange program was arranged between the Moscow State University of Education (MSUE) and the Central China Normal University (CCNU) in Wuhan city, Hubei province. The program was to last two months. To prepare for the exchange the students who decided to take part in it had to collect some documents, namely:

– a copy and translation of their gradebook;

– the curriculum translation;

– a motivation letter in both languages;

– a certificate of their English level;

– recommendation letters from the university employees;

After approval of the list of exchange students they registered on CCNU’s website, filled in some applications and sent a number of documents to issue their student cards. Then we got our visas and bought airline tickets.

I think it is also very important to touch upon financial matters. First of all, our accommodation was absolutely free, moreover, the Chinese university gave us a scholarship — 1000 RMB per month which was equal to almost 10000 rubles at that moment. We paid our own money for the airline tickets, water and electricity during our living in the dormitory and for other household needs.

It should also be mentioned that each exchange student had a single room with their own bathroom and toilet. But international and Chinese students live in different buildings with different rules. For example, in our dormitory we had only single and double rooms, however for Chinese students four people in one room is the minimum. They also have different dorms for boys and girls while foreigners live together in the same building. The important fact is that Chinese students have limited time when they can come to their dorm — it is 23:00, at the same time we had no limitations.

The key moment of this trip is, of course, education. Our course consisted of three main subjects — Abstract Algebra, Computer Science and Mathematics Teaching Theory. Each subject was taught in English but we were the only foreign students in the group, I mean, all other course participants were Chinese. They also offered us to choose some courses if we wanted to enroll, these were: Ordinary Differential Equations, Complexity Function and two levels of Chinese — profile language and public Chinese. At the end of these two months we had a control event on each subject. It could be a quiz, an essay or something like that. Teachers gave us our final scores which were written in the certificate verifying our participating in this exchange program.

Our lecturers also helped us learn more about the education system in Chinese schools — they arranged some visits to high and primary schools for us. We had an opportunity to see some lessons and to talk with teachers and pupils.

Deputy dean of the receiving party Liu Hongwei told me about the organization of this exchange program and he also gave me his own opinion on it. The CCNU had collaborated with Australian, American and Canadian universities on exchange programs, but this was the first exchange program between the CCNU’s students and students from Russia. Mr. Liu thinks that it is very important to develop relationships between universities located in different countries and to organize such programs. Of course it is quite difficult and expensive, but such investments are fully justified. Exchange programs are a great chance for the university to become known beyond China, for the lecturers to share their experience with colleagues from different countries, to obtain a lot of useful things and to keep pace with the times. For students such an experience is also rewarding as it can help them develop interpersonal skills, increase their knowledge about culture of different countries and just to get the experience of communicating with foreigners. These skills are highly valued by employers. However, it is extremely difficult for active students to do it by themselves even if we omit money problems. That is why the University should help its students realize their ambitions. Eventually youth is the future of the country and the country is interested in educated people with a broad outlook. Mr. Liu also mentioned that such experience is equally important for students and for lecturers, and their working visits abroad are typical for CCNU.

Coming back to my impressions about China I should say that the Chinese are really proud of their culture. Very often you can see traditional style buildings and these can be anything — a museum, a library or just a dormitory for students. They look really beautiful.

The cherry blossom is an amazing period in China, luckily we caught this moment. Every Chinese goes for a walk these days to make pictures and just to see beauty of nature. They even have some official weekends to enjoy this moment instead of working.

All the Chinese are very friendly to foreigners, they will always be happy to talk to you or even take a picture, but the biggest problem is that they are too shy to speak English.

Traditional food gave us a strange impression. First of all, it has nothing in common with food which we used to eat in Chinese restaurants in Moscow. Secondary, they really eat rice and noodles every day. Of course, they put different vegetables, sauces and meat in it, but at every meal they definitely have rice. Tofu is another popular food here; it is soy cheese which Chinese can cook in hundreds of ways.

To compare with Moscow, they also have many street food points in Wuhan. However local food seemed too spicy for us, honestly, we could not eat anything for the first 2 days. It is noteworthy that pungency of food depends on the area of China. If it is in the South, it is spicier than in the North. Even Chinese sometimes can’t eat southern food if they are from northern parts of China.

The atmosphere in the dormitory was a pleasant surprise for me. People from all over the world live here as a big family. It is very easy to start a nice conversation with a stranger even in an elevator. I made many new friends here, tried various dishes of national cuisine and came to know many things about different cultures. Exactly here I felt that world is too small, as in the morning I could speak with someone from Africa, China or Macedonia and in the evening with people from Thailand, Bangladesh, England and many other countries.

In conclusion I can say that it was a great experience for me and I have no regrets I was there. I improved my spoken and professional English, I can even speak a little Chinese now, I discovered many useful things for myself as a teacher and as a person, finally I just made new friends here. Now I am sure that if I have an opportunity to go somewhere else as an exchange student, I will hardly skip it.

Thus, partner universities engaged in academic mobility programs first and foremost provide their students with an opportunity to actively participate in their professional education and improve it through selection of subjects, disciplines, courses, educational institutions in accordance with their needs and aspirations. Academic mobility enables each student to build their educational trajectory within the framework of the existing system of higher professional education in general and the system of life long learning in particular. With the purpose of building and implementation of their international educational trajectories, future specialists need to develop international educational competences, and the university should ensure partnership interaction with the world educational community [1].

The development of international cooperation with foreign universities and organizations in the field of science and education is one of the priorities of modern higher school institutions. The main tasks that universities set for themselves at the moment in the sphere of the internationalization of education are as follows: creation and implementation of innovative educational programs in cooperation with the leading foreign partner universities; increasing the level of competence of the faculty in mastering foreign languages; creation of a system of supervision and monitoring of international cooperation projects with foreign partner universities; expansion of possibilities of studying the Russian language abroad through supporting the existing and creating new centers of the Russian language and culture; encouraging academic mobility of their students and scientific and pedagogical staff; increasing the number of foreign students entering Russian universities on a contract basis [2].


1. Теребина П. В. Педагогические условия обеспечения академической мобильности студентов вузов гуманитарного профиля // Теория и практика общественного развития. 2014. № 20. С. 180–184.

2. Беленов О. Н. Международная активность как приоритетное направление деятельности вуза // Высшее образование в России. 2016. № 5 (201). С. 132–137.

Основные термины (генерируются автоматически): CCNU, MSUE, RMB.

Ключевые слова

academic mobility, student exchange program, systems of education, studying mathematics in China

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