In Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur, students have this week been enrolling at the first Chinese university to open a campus overseas.
Officials feel it is more than just an educational ventune, it is also a way to advance good relations between China and its southeast Asian neighbors, as well as promoting the inclusive Belt & Road initiative.
A specially chartered Xiamen Airlines plane brought this special, first group of students to Kuala Lumpur. In all, 440 students from 14 Chinese provinces will be arriving this week to take their places at the emerging new campus of Xiamen University in Malaysia. They all scored top marks in China’s university entry exams and chose to be part of this pioneering educational venture.
“In terms of the quality, in terms of the size of the batch of students, and in terms of the procedures, this is unprecedented in terms of Malaysia’s tertiary education history. So it’s really a big day for us too,” said Professor Wang Ruifang, President, Xiamen University Malaysia.
A specially chartered Xiamen Airlines plane brought this special, first batch of students to Kuala Lumpur.
It’s also a big day for the students.
“First is excited, because it’s an opportunity for me to develop, and it’s an opportunity for me to enjoy the cultural diversity,” said Zhu Wen, student, Xiamen University Malaysia.
The Chinese students will join students from Malaysia and later around South East Asia. Numbers will eventually swell to 10,000 at what is shaping up to be the largest foreign university campus in Malaysia. All courses will be taught in English, except for Chinese studies and Traditional Chinese Medicine.
At a recent meeting with Southeast Asian leaders, Chinese premier Li Keqiang said China wants to strengthen its relationship with ASEAN in a number of key areas, including people to people ties, and in particular, education.
The university says it hopes to advance that aim as well as China’s One Belt, One Road initiative, something the Chinese students are well aware of.
“The Malaysia campus is based on China’s Belt and Road initiative so I think to come to the Malaysia campus is to put our hands on the ark of history and combine historical process and our personal development together,” said Wu Hanyang, student.
A lofty goal, perhaps, but in keeping with what this campus is really about: Meeting the highest academic standards while helping China and ASEAN deepen their social, cultural, strategic and economic cooperation.