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A Chinese JV university seeks Thai undergraduates

Aug 26. 2017
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A LEADING joint-venture university in China is hoping to attract more students from Thailand and Asean countries, as it begins accepting applications across the Asia-Pacific region this month for its new undergraduate degree programme beginning next year.

The move highlights the booming people-to-people exchange between China and Asean, and shows their flourishing relationship has developed beyond just commercial ties.

Thailand is the largest source of Asean students in China, with more than 23,000 Thai youths studying there in 2016.

Sitting close to Shanghai and in the heart of Yangtze River Delta region, China’s major economic hub, Duke Kunshan University promotes itself as an “ideal and a unique” option for those who wish to pursue world-class education while having the chance to live in China.

“We are building a truly global university in China, which makes us unique in the Chinese context,” said Denis Simon, executive vice chancellor of Duke Kunshan University, noting that Thailand, along with Japan, Korea and Singapore, had been influencing the region for years.

“Each country across Asia – and the world – has their own unique learning culture. The multiple perspectives students from across Asia will bring to Duke Kunshan will contribute greatly to ensuring we create a rich and dynamic learning environment.”

As a product of the collaboration between Duke University, an institution consistently ranked among the top 10 universities in the United States, and Wuhan University in China, Duke Kunshan will begin to offer a wide range of undergraduate majors starting in August 2018.

Located in Kunshan in the eastern part of China’s Jiangsu Province, Duke Kunshan is seeking to recruit at least 50 overseas students as part of its initial class of 225. The university has previously only offered postgraduate courses and a non-degree undergraduate programme called the Global Learning Semester.

Russell Davis, director of global student recruitment at Duke Kunshan, said the university provided students with a unique opportunity to live and study in China and the US while pursuing a high-calibre education culminating in a degree from both Duke University and Duke Kunshan University. “Students will study in a truly global environment. The undergraduate academic programme spans two continents – in Kunshan, at a state-of-the-art campus, and a two-semester experience at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina,” he said. At Duke Kunshan, non-Chinese students also will be required to take Mandarin courses.

Over the summer, the university’s recruitment team travelled across Asia visiting high schools to introduce Duke Kunshan and specific details about the undergraduate programme. This autumn, they will have another extensive recruitment trip to cities all over Asia to meet prospective applicants and their parents.

Education is a key area in China-Asean cooperation. More than 190,000 Chinese and Asean students are studying in each other’s universities. More than 80,000 Asean students have studied in China as of the end of 2016.

Nearly 60 per cent of all 442,773 foreign students currently in China come from Asia, according China’s Ministry of Education. Jiangsu, home province of the Duke Kunshan, is the third largest destination for foreign students, behind Beijing and Shanghai. When graduating from Duke Kunshan, students will receive a Duke degree and join Duke's global network of 170,000 alumni; they also will receive from Duke Kunshan University, a bachelor’s degree that is approved by China's Ministry of Education.

Prospective students can apply to Duke Kunshan through the common application system. All applicants will be automatically considered for available scholarships, Davis said.


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