Ever since the year 2012 when The University Immersion Program (UIP) of Sichuan University was started, it has been working on improving the quality of teaching and broadening students’ horizon. Through the three sessions by now, more than 30,000 students from Sichuan University have participated in the program, listening to lectures by outstanding international teachers and cooperating with students from all over the world. The visiting teachers and students also learn about some aspects of China, and have a new image of the country after their experience. An interview with Professor Jaafar from Johns Hopkins University may reveal for us a few of these changes.
The “Big” Sichuan University
Professor Jaafar El-Awady had never been to China before this year’s UIP. As a new comer, he is impressed by Chengdu with its weather, food and culture, and shows great interest in the Sichuan Opera face-changing show in the opening ceremony of the program. He keeps sweating during interview, and jokes about it, “The weather is just as warm as your friendship!”
Professor Jaafar searched for information about Sichuan University before he came, and he got to know that it is one of the top universities in China. When he did arrive and see it by himself, he described the three campuses: Wangjiang, Huaxi and Jiangan, with “very, very, very big” compared with Johns Hopkins University. He highly praises the beautiful scenery and well-equipped facilities of Sichuan University, and likes the traditional-style buildings in campus very much.
Chinese Students Are Full of Passion
Professor Jaafar gives the course “Micro Plastic Mechanics” in UIP 2015. To fully communicate his ideas, he uses ppt showing dynamic models, and also gestures illustrating deformation process of alloy material. A student from Wu Yuzhang Honors College says, “Professor Jaafar uses examples to elaborate scientific theories. In his course, we get to know that scientific theories are not always true in every situation. Each theory has its range of application, and we need to always remember this in our research work. His teaching is quite engaging, and arouses my interest in the micro-world.”
In break time, Professor Jaafar is surrounded by students asking questions about his course. He provides them with possible answers and discuss with them. “Contrary to my imagination, the Chinese students are also very passionate and active in class.” and he laughs, “I guess maybe they do it out of politeness.” He also has out-of-classroom engagement with his students: they plan to play basketball on Thursday.
I Enjoy My Time Here
For his first time with UIP, Professor Jaafar speaks highly of this program. The reception of volunteers and visiting scientific facilities leave him a deep impression, and he trusts that Sichuan University will reach higher in academic achievements. As to the students, he believes international exchange can bring them benefit of cultural interaction and international knowledge, which will help them in future study and research. He wishes that UIP of Sichuan University can develop, and allow more people involved in this fantastic experience.