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Dragon boat championship turns international eyes towards top Chinese university

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HANGZHOU, China--9 Apr--Xinhua-AsiaNet/InfoQuest

Students from the world's most prestigious higher education institutions descended on the city of Hangzhou in China's southeastern Zhejiang province for the first ever International Elite University Dragon Boat Championships. The competition, which was organized by Zhejiang University, saw 15 teams -- including Oxford, Harvard, Stanford and Massachusetts Institute of Technology -- came together on March 27 for traditional Chinese rowing races on Hangzhou's Jinsha Lake.

"The Dragon Boat Championships are very good for us in terms of visibility," Li Min, the director of the Office of International Relations explained. "And in terms of international relations, we can get to know each other better and communicate more through sport."

With 180 partners around the world, the university sends over 3,000 undergraduate students to study abroad each year and has a contingent of more than 6,000 international students. Through a range of initiatives, the university, which is consistently ranked among China's best, hopes to ramp up its international credentials further.

According to former Yale Medical School professor Anna Wang Roe, it was a spirit of cooperation that convinced her to set up her Institute of Neuroscience and Technology at the storied 1897-founded university.

"I looked at many different universities in China but I fell in love with Zhejiang because they had strengths in engineering and medicine, strong affiliated hospitals and the student quality is excellent," said Roe.

The university hopes this kind of groundbreaking research, a plethora of international partnerships and state of the art facilities will attract foreigners to its new International Campus. Dubbed a "fusion of the educational philosophies of the East and West," "it was first opened in 2016 to add a potential capacity of 4,000 learners to the current student population", said HE Lianzhen, Dean of the Haining International Campus.

Among the courses on offer are two joint undergraduate degrees, one in biomedical sciences with Scotland's   University of Edinburgh, and the other in engineering with the United States' UIUC. After four years' study under teachers from both contributing universities, the students will receive a double degree.

Back on the shore of Jinsha Lake, 20-year-old MIT chemistry student Darnell Granberry said he is impressed both by the city and the university. Asked if he would consider studying at Zhejiang if he wasn't in Boston, he replied, "If I could make it in, sure."

SOURCE: Zhejiang University
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