Europe and America migt be the top destinations for Indonesian students to further their studies. However, in this article, Alifia Anandita, provides another perspective why you should consider doing your study in China. She also shares what it is like to study at one of the top universities in China, even in the world in this article. Check it out!
Why should you consider pursuing your study in China?
Why do you study in China? Why not in Europe or America? Later your friends will only be local. How if your English will not improve later. These are questions and statements that I often received when I got a scholarship to continue my master’s studiy at Tsinghua University China.
Understandably, studying in China is not as popular as studying in Europe or America. That is what I often discuss with my friends at PPIT-Beijing or Permit Beijing (Perhimpunan Mahasiswa Indonesia Tiongkok-Beijing). Beijing is is a very multicultural environment where there are lots of foreigners or expatriates, all people from various parts of the world gather and collaborate. Education using English is also widely available; my program is also an international program using English.
I have gained tons of international networks and friends from all over the world at Tsinghua University. This made me realize the importance of learning languages in English and 5 other UN languages, including Mandarin, which is the language with the most speakers in the world.
If we look at the top 100 best universities globally, don’t be surprised that universities from China occupy many of the top positions.
I am a journalist on one of the national news TV in Indonesia. Being a journalist, I learned how to see opportunities, read future trends, diplomatic relations between countries from politics, business, and technology. Based on my research, I believe that studying in China would open up new opportunities in my life.
I consider China as the second-largest economy in the world after America. China’s GDP has jumped from only US$ 30 billion in the early days of the country to US$ 13.6 trillion in 2018, or an increase of 452 times. China is also the largest manufacturing producer, the largest trading country for commodity products, and the country with the world’s largest foreign exchange reserves. China has become a major engine of global economic growth.
The number of countries that have established diplomatic relations has also increased to 179 countries, plus the world’s mega-projects are the Chinese government’s big plan to revive the glory of the Silk Road in the 21st century with the name Belt and Road Initiative. This initiative is carried by Chinese President Xi Jinping and has been signed by more than 150 countries in the Belt and Road Initiative project cooperation. Approximately 62% of the world’s population is involved in the Belt and Road Initiative project. Very likely, shortly, China will become a superpower in the world.
An overview of my experiences studying at Tsinghua University
Studying at Tsinghua University, one of the best campuses in the world, number 15 according to the QS World University Rankings in 2021 and the number one campus for Asia-Australia (Times Higher Education’s rankings data), as well as one of the world’s most beautiful college campuses (Forbes), is one of the extraordinary experiences in my life. I came to know how to work and how to live like the Chinese people in getting success and brilliant achievements, from a country whose GDP in 1970 was still equal to that of Indonesia, which is now the world’s largest economy.
When I first came to Beijing in 2019, I was amazed to see such an organized and modern city. China can combine artificial intelligence with its government system like a future country (smart country). From public transportation, shopping to national security, all of them use sophisticated technology. While in Beijing, I don’t need to carry a wallet, because all activities use a smartphone: taking buses, subways, or fast trains; renting bikes; buying snacks in the canteen; and going in and out of the building using cellphones or face recognition.
The country is also very safe; I rarely hear about crime. The sophistication of CCTV (surveillance camera) installed on each side of the street can identify individuals. With the world’s largest population, China can organize its people to achieve economic triumph and national security.
I didn’t experience a culture of shock because I was interested in cross-culture, but I needed time to adapt to the way I learned there in the learning process. The learning system at Tsinghua is very demanding; my class schedule is hectic and studying in class can be from morning to midnight. Even my campus has 10 extensive main libraries and are always full at all times. If I can’t find a place in the main library, I usually choose to go to my school’s faculty library. Students’ motto is like the Disney movie Mulan that I often watch, “It’s my honor to protect my family and my country.”
The government also supports learning activities by providing a large education budget. In every one of our courses, there is material in the field or company visit, all of which are free since the campus pays for accommodation.
Imagine how much fun the learning process would be if in one semester there are 6 subjects. The lecturers are also very familial; they will always be happy to support and appreciate the ideas that we have and even provide sources to develop these ideas.
Apart from academic activities, Tsinghua University provides access to an inclusive international community to hone students’ skills and create innovation. With the motto of “Self-Discipline and Social Commitment” and the spirit of “Actions Speak Louder than Words”, Tsinghua University is dedicated to Chinese society’s well-being and world development.
Prestigious activities such as the Tsinghua University Gala Night is also held to introduce Chinese and worldwide cultures. I was chosen to be one of the international students’ representatives to host public policy and management events with 3 other people from Poland, Lithuania, and Gambia.
In addition to my academic activities, I joined the Indonesian Students Association, namely, Permit Beijing (The Beijing Chinese Indonesian Student Association) as the Education Division Coordinator for 2020-2021.
The Covid-19 pandemic did not dampen my enthusiasm to continue working, even though half of my study period was in Indonesia due to the pandemic. As the recipient of Indonesian government scholarship to pursue my education at Tsinghua University, I also shared experiences with the government and society as a journalist and digital literacy activist, to provide advice on the latest Covid-19 pandemic problems. I collaborated with two ministries of the Republic of Indonesia and the community to provide material on socializing vaccinations, using masks, increasing body immunity, and studying at home during and after the Covid-19 pandemic. I also worked with student associations to include content on the news industry, digital media ethics, personal branding, and social media to build interest and continue to do something positive in a pandemic situation.
We hope that all of these efforts will help students grow and have a new broad vision for this area and self-development. My professors at Tsinghua also supported what I was doing at home-country; even Tsinghua University published my story in Indonesia regarding the handling of Covid-19.
Advices for the future Indonesian youth
My advice for Indonesian youth who wish to continue their studies abroad, try to deepen their research on future challenges and global trends in the next 20 or 30 years. What areas are relevant, and what innovations are prospective. Changes happen so fast, and being visionary and able to read opportunities can help you to adapt to changes.
The courage to succeed is a mental problem, our own-created limitations. So, dream high, try your hardest no matter how difficult life is—better sick from studying than sick from limitations.
After you set your goals, please do the right lifestyle, read three books a month outside reading materials that your teacher gives to you. It will help you to keep your insights broad and open. Exercise regularly so that your body is always in shape and has enough stamina to work and study. Volunteering activities that impact the environment and social media are also another option. Build your career and work to be useful for Indonesia.
See you next time!
Author: Alifia Anandita