Delegates from Chinese Embassy to U. S. Visit with Chinese Scholars at UTHSC

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Chinese scholars from the UTHSC College of Graduate Health Sciences met with Chinese education officials, left, on Tuesday to talk about their experiences as international students in the U. S.

Jin Wang, a student at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center since 2017, is proud to have graduated from the College of Graduate Health Sciences on Monday. She plans to stay on for postdoctoral work in immunology.

Wang and three other students from the college had the opportunity Tuesday to visit with representatives from the Education Department at the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in the United States. The delegation from the embassy was in Memphis to meet with UTHSC leadership, researchers, and faculty from the College of Graduate Health Sciences, where a third of the students are international and at least half of those are from China.

Counselor Yun Zhang and Attaché Yiwei Fang from the embassy capped off their morning visit to UTHSC by meeting with the students.

“It’s very nice talking and sharing their experiences,” Zhang said. “We want to know how UTHSC is conducting their international engagement with China and what the Chinese Embassy can do for this.”

 “I spend most of my time in the lab,” said Wang, who came to study at UTHSC from Harbin Medical University in China. She is a researcher in the lab of Associate Professor Elizabeth Fitzpatrick, PhD.  

“Harbin is very cold and when you come here it is very hot,” Wang continued. “And the winter is also very hot compared to Harbin. But we think it is pretty nice.”

Student Ruixue Wang is an immunology researcher in the lab of Kui Li, PhD. She also is from Harbin Medical University.

The College of Graduate Health Sciences inked a partnership in 2020 with Harbin Medical University and several other institutions in China to obtain funding from the China Scholarship Council to support cohorts of scholars from China to come to UTHSC to complete their PhD training.

Donald Thomason, PhD, dean of the college, said the Chinese delegates were going to a convention in Nashville and stopped in Memphis to discuss the program and to meet with Chinese scholars at UTHSC.

Dr. Thomason said the pandemic and issues related to obtaining visas affected the number of Chinese students at U.S. universities. “Nationwide, the number of students from China to the U.S. is down by 50%,” he said.

“One of the things we worked on here (during the visit) is how to streamline the process of students getting visas,” the dean said.  “I think we are rebounding from the difficulties faced during the pandemic and working to further cooperation between Chinese medical universities and UTHSC.”