From Shanghai to Sydney

2 May 2012

Li Xiang
"Studying overseas broadens your horizons and lets you make lots of new friends," says Li Xiang.

Li Xiang from Fudan University in China is enjoying a one-off scholarship at the University of Sydney, as part of a joint Masters in Health Communication program with the Chinese university.

While undertaking her first year of a Master of Arts, Journalism at Fudan University in Shanghai, Li was informed about the chance to study at the University of Sydney the following year. She leapt at the opportunity.

"Studying overseas broadens your horizons and lets you make lots of new friends," she explains. "The University of Sydney is one of the most well-known universities in the world for its beautiful campus and resources."

Li grew up in Jilin province in the North East of China, and has been studying in Shanghai from the time she was an undergraduate. Although she admits it took some time to get used to studying in "Hogwarts buildings" here in Sydney ("There's nothing like the Harry Potter quadrangle in China!"), Li has found the experience to be both challenging and satisfying at the same time.

"The campus at Sydney is huge," Li says, "it is very easy to get lost."

Li Xiang acknowledges, however, that the difference between the two universities does not stop at the physical campus. Li says the style of teaching is different, but this is an attribute that she is enjoying.

"It's a bit strange for me to have separate lectures and tutorials and workshops, as well as a lot more online learning," Li says. "In China it is mostly face-to-face seminars, but it has not been too hard to get used to."

Throughout the application process, Li says support from the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences was invaluable in preparing her for her studies.

Dr Steven Maras, senior lecturer in the Department of Media and Communications, was one of those who helped Li transition to the University of Sydney.

"This Health Communications agreement has a lovely symmetry to it. Schools of Public Health and Media, in both Sydney and China, are finding ways to work together," he explains.

Li agrees that the partnership of communications and health was an attractive one.

"With the health and communications combined program you get the knowledge of health and the skills you need for journalism," she says.

Although Li's scholarship is a one-off, Dr Maras says future applicants will be considered under the Faculty's International Postgraduate Coursework Scholarship scheme.

"The scholarship, supported by the faculties of Arts and Social Sciences and of Medicine, was seen as an excellent way to support this growing relationship [between Sydney and China]."

Li says her experience so far at Sydney has led her to recommend the experience to anyone considering studying abroad.

"I would encourage everyone to go," she says. "Everyone should take every opportunity they can, and I found this one really worthwhile."

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Contact: Kate Mayor

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