What’s Tsinghua University really like for an international student who studies International Relations for only one semester? Honestly, it’s pretty chaotic…
The first two weeks are probably the most stressful out of the 15-week program at Tsinghua. However, that stress accumulates even into the 5th and 6th weeks as midterms and finals approach. In this time frame, all Tsinghua studies have an add/drop period in their schedule where they get to test the classes.
However, the first week is really about getting accustomed and oriented with the surrounding, the buildings, the smells, and whether or not to buy a bike, a lock, or even where the nearest canteen is… Food…
I became frustrated when I couldn’t find classes. I signed up for 5 classes initially and I went to each one of them during the first week. MY BIGGEST PROBLEM WAS THAT THEY WERE ALL TAUGHT IN CHINESE.
In the online portal for Tsinghua university, it does not indicate whether or not the classes are taught in English or in Chinese. So for the international students who are looking for a course in English, good luck because you will probably end up in a class without any prior knowledge that it was taught in Chinese and have to sneak out in the first 10 minutes because you have no idea what they’re talking about.
Thus, the first week felt like I wasted time learning the map of Tsinghua. Most of the international student group chats were blowing up with messages stating how frustrating it was to find English courses.
Then by the second week an Excel sheet comes out with a list of the English courses taught at Tsinghua for the fall 2018 semester. Finally! I take a look at the excel sheet and I scroll through. Then I realize most of the classes listed were in engineering, mechanics, physics, nanotechnology, finance, marketing, business and economics…. There were only 3 classes in international relations
- Chinese Foreign Policy
- Contemporary Theories of International Relations
- Area Studies: Israel and the Middle East
I felt that most of my friends and other students had finally made their course schedule. Some students had up to 20 THU credits and I wondered HOW is that possible? I could only add in 3 classes. Then in the 4th week I added another course thanks to my friend who told me about it. It was Chinese Finance and Markets, seemed interesting…
Finally in the 5th week my professor in the Area Studies course, Professor Elad, mentioned teaching another class called Israel and Society so I desperately tried to add that class with the administration approval. However, it was too late and I was stuck with only 4 classes. However, for fun I still attend the second class taught by Professor. Elad.
If you are in the school of Arts and Sciences or in social sciences major, like political science, English or Global Studies at Drexel, you may have trouble finding classes if you are not admitted into the Chinese language program at Tsinghua.
Tsinghua University is an amazing school, but honestly it’s geared strongly towards STEM majors.