University of Nottingham Ningbo China
School of
International Studies
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Words from Graduates

 

陈广隶-1 Chen Guangli

 

Guangli Chen

BA International Studies, 2010

My name is Chen Guangli, and I did my BA in International Studies between 2006 and 2010. I am pleased to share with you some of my experiences and talk you through what our life is like in the IS division.

IS degree programmes are multi-disciplinary ones that bring into perspective a wide spectrum of knowledge in social sciences and humanities. According to students’ own choice of modules, we have the chance to decide our own focus on both or either of the division’s specialised areas namely International Relations and History, but teaching and reading materials often tend to have a wider coverage, as during my time here I had the pleasure dipping into various subjects of social sciences such as comparative politics, sociology, and human geography etc. In terms of regional coverage, IS modules allow students to examine specific issues in various countries/areas through writing and oral practices, as in my case I enjoyed researching topics on Europe, Russia (Soviet Union), East Asia (China in particular), and the Middle East.

As an IS student, reading and writing consisted of my major study efforts. But this wouldn’t have been possible if not for the division’s library collections, which is one of the largest bodies of international scholarly publications in Mainland China and has been increasing exponentially over the years. Being an IS student means we have non-restricted access to high quality and up to date original books and journals, some of which are not widely available in China. Besides hard copies, this is also the case in that students use online subscriptions to leading international academic resources on a daily basis, which gives another cutting edge to UNNCers’ privileged status in mainland China’s academia, which is often more so for IS students.

In my third year I had the opportunity to join my colleagues and study abroad in the University’s home campus. During my time in the UK, I got to further broaden my horizon as I selected optional modules from multiple schools such as the School of History, School of Politics and IR and the School of Contemporary Chinese Studies, and we excelled and proved that we could do better than many local students. What’s more, the education I received at UNNC helped me invaluably in my application for postgraduate study. Thanks to the IS Division in particular, I am now enrolled in the London School of Economics and Political Science, one of the best social science institutions in the world.

We have an impressively small student-staff ratio in our division, which leads to smaller classes where individual students receive more attention from tutors and allows more time for intensive and extensive discussions. This makes it possible for faculty and students to know well about each other. Effectively our personal tutors become real sources for advice and help tailored to individual needs rather than over-generalised for wider recipients. I have some personal experience with this point. When I was indecisive about whether to transfer my degree to another division, it was a long talk with a patient IS teacher that helped me become determined. In the ensuing years I came along with their advice on my essays, dissertation and postgraduate applications. As long as opportunities are available, IS teachers would recommend our students to attend conferences, join research projects and even prepare submission of dissertation to international journals. As experts in their respective areas, IS faculty keeps on organising seminars throughout the year. We students not only enjoy listening to worldly renowned academics’ reports, but also get invited to dinners afterwards thus getting to know the guest lecturers, some of whom can be amongst the world’s most successful people in their fields and propose life-changing offers to my colleagues. Within the division and largely in UNNC, the conventional Asian hierarchy between teachers and students becomes diminished. To tell you some less serious stuff, out of working hours IS teachers and students often join each other in social events: it can be a class meal in the student canteen or a local restaurant, can be a football match on a Saturday afternoon, can be a pint and a casual chat in a Ningbo Laowaitan bar, or it can be a formal dress and dance party at the end of an academic year, and believe it or not, we even gossip to each other……all are memories I shall keep alive for the rest of my life.

I regret that I have talked too much, and you have my apologies if it has over-cost your time. In general, as it does take courage to choose UNNC, it may take more for IS. At a time when most students in China apply to study business and natural science-related subjects, it’s a truly hard decision to make if one comes with genuine interest into the realm of social sciences and humanities. Every individual and his/her family who supports deserve our respect. But IS is not that kind of ivory tower where people keep themselves doped in books, through a lens into the world we know better about ourselves. Maybe what we research is not sufficient to help us foresee the curve trajectory of stock market prices, alleviate our dependence on fossil fuels or discover the anti-virus to new epidemics, yet we come out of campus with a tolerant, inquisitive, lasting and just heart, and in the accumulation of life time we keep our balanced steps, which I think is any liberal-art university education’s rightly ends.  

 

 

 

张潜 Zhang Qian

Qian Zhang

BA International Studies, 2008

 My life  and education at UNNC makes me who I am now.

Current PhD student at McGill University

 

 

 

 

RikoKeseki

Riko Koseki 

BA International Studies with Language, 2018

The benefits of studying International Studies with Chinese in UNNC are mainly two. First, not only be able to meet world top class teachers but also be able to build up life-long relationship with them. In UNNC, I think the relationship between teachers and students are very close. Teachers are very open to be asked questions in the class and their office hours and thus offer helps to students. Even after graduated, I still have some teachers contact that I can ask for help and advice about my career.
Second, I could study World topics with people from all over the world. This was very fascinating. For example, I joined a lecture called "Southeast China sea conflict" taught by Singaporean lecturer and  students from countries such as Malaysia, Indonesia, UK, France, Japan and importantly China. I could see the different reactions to the lecture and point of views from different nations as well. 


Personally as a Japanese,  I really enjoyed taking a course about 'Northeast Asia' which is focust on the history of China, Kosea and Japan with Chinese students. We sometimes had deep discussions on sensitive historical topics but with them, it was very valuable and meaningful. Helped me a lot to understand how new Chinese generation see and understand the history.

 

 

 

Andre

André Hantke

MA International Relation and International Business, 2017

I came from Germany to the University of Nottingham in Ningbo. After completing a Master´s program in International Relations and International Business at this university, I have used the opportunity to continue with PhD- studies in the field of International Relations, profiting from the vast scholarship budgets available to PhD students at UNNC. Participating in postgraduate research at UNNC offers me the possibility to process my prior working experiences on an academic level as well as to make use of future opportunities that come with the continuous development of UNNC and China itself. What ultimately persuaded me to take this step was the professional and welcoming academic culture of UNNC and my observation that here as well as in many other places in China development is not just a label but directly palpable on the ground. UNNC as English university is situated in China´s unique environment. I consider it as an advantage to study at UNNC during the landmark process of China´s social and economic development and to witness changes already happening in one´s immediate environment. Studying in this unparalleled setting involves significant personal gains and will undoubtedly positively affect my future path.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pang-Min

Pang Min

BA International Studies

I am now in the city of West Lafayette in Indiana, the United States, doing my master degree of Political Science at Purdue University. I major in comparative politics and minor in international relations. I am thinking about continuing my Ph.D. program here.

I really appreciate IS division for helping me realize my dreams and developing me into a better person. In professional field, IS division has developed my reading, writing and presentation skills, and taught me how to think critically and actively as well. It also provided me an opportunity to study and communicate with the field’s brightest scholars and brilliant students. Their influences and edification on me is long lasting. The most important thing I got from IS division is a research field that I would like to devote myself to. After learning the course Introduction to Comparative Politics, I found myself seized by the charm of democratization, and was working in this field ever since. This directly influenced me to decide to major in comparative politics and to be a scholar in Political Science. Despite the academia, IS division also developed me into a person of social responsibility and global view. The courses about politics, history, diplomacy and human rights not only helped me understand the world, but also encouraged me to care about different people’s rights around the world.

There are many good memories in my university life that is related with IS division. First would be the experience of leading student seminars in the second year. This experience did not only give me an opportunity to design a seminar and to present like a lecturer, but also gave me the opportunity to meet three friends, who then became my best friends. Second was the one-year exchange experience on the UK campus of the University to Nottingham. At the UK campus, I studied about Political Research Design and Political Studies Approaches which are really helpful for dissertation writing and further researches. I was also able to travel around Europe during that year and these journeys enlightened me a lot and provided me many opportunities to know people from different cultures. Last but not the least is the lovely experience I had last year with the members of Insight society. In this society, I got a lot of chances to communicate with professors and exchange ideas with students who were also interested in politics and history.

There can never be two people that are exactly the same, so I can hardly say my tips for study works for everyone; moreover, I can hardly say I can be seen as a role model. But I would like to give some suggestions to students studying in IS division right now. First is about academia: always plan ahead. Be prepared for the lectures and seminars and read the readings as much as you can. Going to class with questions can always be helpful. Also think about what you want to do after graduation and find out the field you are interested in as early as possible. This can help you plan your university life more structurally and targeted. Moreover, never wait until the final year for your TOEFL, GRE, or GMAT. Remember, you will still have courses, dissertation, and application to go in the final year. These exams will put you under great pressure and took you a lot of time.

The second suggestion is more about making decisions in life: decide your own future. Many people worried about future career opportunities after graduation from IS division. There were also others who were really interested in IS but choose to study business because of pressure from the family or society. My advice is to follow your own heart. It is good to think about others’ advices, but the final decision should still depend on you. Devote yourself to the field you really love, and you will find yourself creative, contributing and feel happy every day.

 

 

 

 

 

Shi-Yu

Shi Yu

BA International Studies

1. Where and what are you doing now?

After graduating from MPA in Syracuse University, I generated strong interests in public administration thus I decided to continue my education in this major.

I am a doctoral student in public administration in the University of Illinois at Chicago, and I am also a research assistant in a City Finance Project which is founded by MacArthur Foundation.   My research specialization is financial management and public budgeting. Specifically, I am doing research about fiscal decentralization in the US, public debt, and state aid.

2. How do you think the IS division has helped you to get where you are today?

IS division offered the best undergraduate courses in China. These courses has helped me to developed the ability to think critically, this is the most important principle for undergraduate courses in the US. Professors in the IS division are good teachers who encourage students to ask, and inspire you to have your own perspectives.

I learned various skills from IS, and these skills help my today's research and teaching. Firstly, the presentation skills that I learned in classes help me a lot in today's teaching. I know the ways to start and use transition words to make my presentation easy to follow. These skills gave me a lot of confidence to teach undergraduate and graduate students. Secondly, the training in essay writing provide me strong capacities to find the reference quickly and develop a research idea based on literature review. Research oriented career requires strong writing skills and I think I developed these abilities when I was an undergraduate in UNNC. Thirdly, the overseas study experience led me to further my education in a foreign university. in my third year, I studied in the Nottingham, UK, and this experience provided me great opportunity to know more prestigious professors and more friends. I deeply felt at that time that I want to further my education in a different country. I took my GRE in London, and prepared in advance for my applications to US universities. I was succeed in applying the top one public administration school-Maxwell school in Syracuse university. I also met my Mr.Right there, and I got married in December 2011.

3. What is the best memory you have studying at IS division?

I was used to be a shy student in high school. The best memory for me in the IS division is that I became confident and happy. I wanted to study, developed skills, and prepared myself for better life. I became confident because teachers and professors are nice, and they always encourage me. I was happy because I had a small cohort.

4. What are your advice for students studying at IS division now?

Learning English well,if you want to further your study in the US,please practice your oral English a lot,and speak more in the seminar,fully participating in the discussion taking courses in economics,statistics and do not waste time on a third language unless you plan to study or work there after graduating.

Writing at least one outstanding essay which can be your writing sample, writing skills are very important.

 

 

 

 

 

Hongmeiyu

Meiyu HONG

BA International Studies, 2008

Hello! My name is HONG Meiyu, a student who just got my BA in International Studies (IS) degree. It is truly my honor to get this opportunity to share some of my thoughts of IS division with you!

First of all, please allow me to express how thankful I am to all IS tutors and staff. Everyone in this university knows that all members of IS division are highly qualified, fabulously professional, and conscientiously responsible, no matter the academic or the administrative perspective. Being enrolled in such division, what you could expect are not just the professional multidisciplinary knowledge, but also different kinds of qualities which are crucial in your future work and life. Yes, IS division is amazing. It helps with organizational and time-management skills, since you have to study different courses with different kinds of assignments at the same time. Imagine that you try to deal with two or three essays together, only organized people and the ones controlling their time well can successfully handle dozens of references instead of becoming lost. More importantly, IS division would teach you how to think critically. With this quality, compared with others you would think more deeply instead of being fooled by the shallow representation. Also, when the mainstreams try to overwhelm all the others, you would be less vulnerable to be negatively influenced. It is vital, because it makes you be able to find the real core of a problem, to pursue the truth of this world, to embrace a sole of freedom. What can be more important in our short lives in this world? I especially thank all the members of IS division introduce these qualities to me. I believe that these critical elements will significantly facilitate me to succeed in my future.

Besides the knowledge and skills you can get from IS division, you could also harvest love and support from our dear tutors. I have served as IS Student Representative for 3 years since I was a sophomore. At the end of these four-year journey in studying IS, I was asked to conduct a survey asking students to vote for the Best Member of IS division in terms of their teaching performance. The voters were required not only to vote, but also to leave some comments explaining why they would like to vote for a specific candidate. This survey was the one got most turnout among all other surveys I conducted to collect their opinions, and the reasons they gave were frankly genuine and very moving. The votes that every tutor got were almost neck and neck- every tutor has his/her own big fans. What is more important, in the comments the student provided, not just the tutors’ excellent teaching performance was emphasized, but also the patience and help they were willing to provide for students. For us, it is truly lucky that we have access to such group of tutors who have a high sense of responsibility. Considering their broad and profound erudition, such patience, support and love are extremely valuable, deserving much appreciation, esteem and love from all students.

However, no matter how much help the tutors would like to provide for you, your own hard work is of vital importance. To be honest, studying IS is not only a journey full of excitement, but also a rugged road you have to walk along without shortcuts to the final destination.  For me, one of the most important obstacles that I have to overcome is the feeling of being lonely. Especially when I try to finish an essay, my minds need to be put under a “vacuum” space, where some of my thoughts about the essay merge, while some of others fight with each other, without being disturbed by the ideas about other stuffs. Only through such process, all my minds about the essay can be combed, and then a relatively consistent structure of the essay is produced. Otherwise, if you keep being distracted by the things of this colorful world, it is kind of impossible that a comprehensive essay can be created. In addition, the process of learning critical thinking is also tough. Firstly, many times your previous inertial thinking has to be overturned totally, which is a very painful process. Just imagine that what you have believed in for such long time (some of them even had been told since you were born!) are suddenly proved wrong, the first reaction of you is usually to deny it instead of thinking it more deeply from other perspectives. Secondly, your own minds may be challenged by others, who insist in what they believe traditionally. In such case, it is not easy for you to persevere to what you think. For example, in a seminar, when all the others do not agree with you, or even laugh at you for what you express, the feeling of being isolated could be strong, making you inclined to be assimilated to others’ arguments. Please do not give up. Do more research and try to persuade others, as well as yourself. I know that to agree with others is easier, but to insist in what you think which is different from others is cool in a unique way.

Now I am in the University of Nottingham UK, attending the yearly Tri-campus Game. It reminds me of the days when I went on exchange for study here one year ago. My memories about the places that I traveled in UK are blurred. However, some of my experience are remembered well all along: studying overnight to try to write a good essay, speaking with my friends to figure out a question in seminar, walking in the peaceful night when I came home alone after finishing a tough day, and eating with my friends in library’s café at midnight for following day’s exam. Time flies, and now I am standing at the end of this four-year exploration. Usually what make us a better person is not the fun that we have ,but the difficulties everyone have to face in our lives, and it is actually up to you whether to overcome it. I appreciate IS so much for the knowledge it teaches, the qualities it provides, the love and support I obtain from dear tutors, and the difficulties I meet and overcome. Hey, if you are a person who love both excitement and challenge, please join us. International Studies can definitely help you make a great progress on the way to become the person you admire, only if you want!

 

 

 

 

 

WUXIAOXI

WU Xiaoxi

BA International Studies

It has been a great honourto study in IS Division together with my dear professors, IS staff and fellow colleagues in the past four years. I could still recall thevery firstdivisional welcome session I attended. At that time, I wasa new student of IS Division,who wasfull of ambitions, dreaming of the colourfullife in university. Four years from then on, both mydivision and university have changed significantly, so has the world in which we are living. Due to the multi-disciplinary characteristic, IS degree programmesprovide a large range of modules which cover various topic arenas, including comparative politics, European Union, international organizations, global politics, international political economy, international relations theory, political research methods, security studies, diplomacy, nationalism and ethnicity,conflict resolution, and history, etc. They have been both enjoyable and enlightening, providing me with various perspectives on international affairs, enhancing my ability of critical thinking and independent reflection.The foundation paved in IS Division will be of significant value in my future development.

Frankly speaking, studying in the IS Division can be very stressful, especially when the essay deadlines are approaching whilst you have to do presentations in seminars. On the other hand, however, it is an enjoyable experience. When you get more familiar with the topic and hence achieve a better understanding on international affairs during writing an essay, or become increasinglyconfident in the practice of presentations, you will feel a great bliss. Also, IS Division allowsstudenttochoose their preferred modules from a list of optional courses, including courses of IS Division and those of other divisions such as Division of International Communicationsand Nottingham University Business School China (NUBSC). Students therefore have chance to enrich their knowledge of various majors.

Apart from academic work, I have been working in UNNC Model United Nations Association (MUNA) since my first year in the university, as bothDirector of Academic Research Department (2008-2009) andSenior Advisor(2009-2011). Closely related to my major, MUNA provides an ideal platform on which I can apply what I have learned in lectures and seminars to practical circumstances.By organizing and participating into MUN activities on various levels, I developed my awareness of the vital significance of a well-functioning civil societyand enhanced the sense of responsibility as both national andglobal citizen. MUN also offer opportunitiesto meet talent students with unique backgrounds from differentmajors, universities, regions, and countries. I recommend future IS students to engage in MUNA.

The teaching team of IS Division is a highly respectable one which consistsof experienced professors from various countries, who enjoydistinguished reputation in their respective academic field. I feel a great privilege to have them as my tutors and I would like to pay a tribute to all of them for their seasoned guidance and gracious supportalong the way which I have been following, andduringmy postgraduate application process. Especially,I would like to send my gratitude to Dr. David E. KIWUWA for being such an excellent personal tutorwho always provides considerable support to me; to Dr. Joseph B. ASKEW for his seasoned supervision to my dissertation; to Dr. IvayloGATEV for his valuable assistance in the working process of my dissertation. Special thankfulness isalso paid to Dr. May TAN-MULLINS, Dr. GernotKLANTSCHNIG, and Dr. Catherine GOETZE for their significant help during the days I spendin IS Division. Meanwhile, I would like to extend a salute toDr. RosariaFRANCO, Dr. Sergey RADCHENKO, Dr. Liam MCCARTHY(UK campus), Dr. Gulshan KHAN (UK campus), Dr. GUO Yannan (UK campus), and Dr. Andreas FULDA (UK campus). All of them are mymodule tutors, from whom I have learned a great deal, and theirmodules always are interesting and instructive. Additionally, I would like to thank Ms. Teresa WANG for her restless hard work as the divisional assistant of Faculty Office.UNNC is famous for its attractivestudent-staff ratio comparing with other Chinese universities(especially those in Mainland), and it is even impressive in IS Division. Students have more opportunities to voice their opinions and have effectiveinteraction with their professors. I have always been enjoyingthe debate and discussion withmy colleagues and professors in seminars, workshops, conferences, and other circumstances. The small group of seminar allow both studentsand tutors get to know each otherbetter, and therefore work together with a high efficiency. The friendship with theseprofessors is one of the treasuresthat I value most.

Every journeyhas its end regardless how long it may be. Yet graduating from IS Division and UNNC is not a termination, but rather a new starting point. Although I have to leave my beloved division and university in one month, the numerous beautiful and joyful memories in the past four years willbe kept in my mind and heart, and I shall treasure them in the rest of my life.Looking back the way that I have passed in previous years, I must say that studying in IS Division created the opportunity to make progress and I have learned a great deal in IS Division, including prudent modesof thinking, flexible ways of learning, diverse angles of understanding. Meanwhile, IS Division considerably broadsmy vision and cultivatesme to be more tolerant, open-minded, rational, and critical, and I have a better appreciation of what Confucius said in The Analectsthat true gentlemen can interact with each other harmoniously although they may have different goals and opinions.Such attitude is not only necessary in academic area, butalso beneficial in daily life. I will always be gratefulto my dear parents for allowing me to choose themajor which I really like, anda student of UNNC IS Division is the title of which I will always be proud.

 

 

 

Mengying-E

Mengying He

BA International Studies, 2010

My name is Mengying He, and I graduated from The University of Nottingham Ningbo (UNNC) in International Studies with Spanish. It is an honour for me to share my great undergraduate experience in the School of International Studies (IS).

Studying International Studies is one of the best choices I have ever made. Not only did it bring me nice people, rich knowledge and broad horizon, but also endowed me with deep understanding of the society and changed my life trajectory into a fresh new field that I had never imagined before. Fortunately, I have been admitted by both University of Cambridge and Oxford in Latin American Studies for the master degree. All of these would not happen without the well designed courses, excellent tutors, accessible resources and various activities that IS offers me during my study.

International Studies itself is an inter- and multi-disciplinary subject including several sub-majors for students to choose from depending on their interests. On the one hand, the division provides three pathways as politics, history, and international relations, in order to satisfy students’ different needs and career plans. On the other, there is a wide range of modules available for students to select freely, related to various subjects including politics, sociology, philosophy, history, cultural studies, and languages, etc. In this way, students can touch different areas to finally find out where our interests lie. Afterwards, we are able to continue further studies in our chosen fields in order to obtain insightful knowledge. By learning a combination of modules, our ways of thinking are deepened, our horizons are broadened and our belief systems are enhanced, which make us more tolerant to others. More importantly, studying IS enables us great critical thinking ability - always looking at things from different perspectives, evaluating other people’s arguments and coming up with our owns.

Another significant aspect that IS impresses me is our tutors. Highly educated and qualified, the tutors all have rich teaching, researching or working experience. The School chooses tutors from a variety of countries. Under such circumstances, we students can receive thoughts with distinctive cultural backgrounds and values that help us develop understanding to differentiations. In addition, the tutors are very accessible to students, reflecting in the Person Tutor system, and are very approachable in teaching skills. They work tirelessly with strong passion in their own academic fields and therefore can guide us wisely. There is also an Assessment Policy within the School, in which we can make comments and advice to the tutors so that they are able to modify their ways of teaching. Moreover, students are also invited to engage in the enrollment of new teaching staff together with our tutors, in which we can express our ideas to applicants regarding their methods of teaching. This is a brilliant policy because we have a say in issues that we concern about.

The School of International Studies also provides us with abundant academic resources such as library collections, online database, ejournals, online periodical and archives collections. This makes it easy for us to access to volumes of references as we need. Furthermore, there are numbers of activities organised by the School or IS-related institutes such as the Institute of Asia Pacific Studies, including guest lectures, round-table conferences, public talks, film festivals, IS Dinner and Dance, and small academic trips to museums. By attending these events, we can not only get into touch with interesting issues, but also have more communication with experienced people. We also have the opportunities for either national or international internships and summer schools, which help develop our career as well as academic potentials. Actively engaging with these events as I did helped me successfully get admissions from both Oxford and Cambridge University.

I fall in love with IS since it bestowed me with invaluable experience and brought me excellent tutors and friends. Being an IS student is a role that I will be very proud of throughout my whole life. If I had another chance, I would definitely make the same choice.

 

 

 

Xiaoyi Zhu


Xiaoyi Zhu

MA in International Relations and World History programme, 2017-18

After completing my study in UNNC,I’ll go to Zhejiang Wanli University to be a student tutor. Maybe after a few years, I’ll continue to study for a PhD to improve myself. In my opinion, studying in IS, critical thinking is very important. In other words, when discussing cases, it is necessary to find both strengths and weaknesses. One-sided thinking is not advocated. In addition, great amount of reading is also significant since the essay based on reading is likely to be more thoughtful. Finally, you are also encouraged to communicate with teacher or supervisor after class because they will give you guidance and many new inspiration which are useful. What I enjoyed about study in IS is that more than half of my classmates are foreigners and all the teachers are from abroad, thus creating an quite international learning atmosphere. In sum, I love UNNC. I love IS!