What’s it like to take graduate courses at the “Harvard” of China?
Just ask Matt McFetridge ’12, who is settling into his second month of graduate studies in the international relations program at Tsinghua University (pronounced “Ching-wah”) in Beijing, China.
“I’m studying with some of the foremost scholars on U.S.-China relations,” said the Penn Yan native in a recent email interview.
In 2010, McFetridge spent the fall semester as an exchange student at Yunnan University of Finance and Economics (YUFE) in Kunming, one of Keuka’s partner universities.
That experience set him on a new course: to incorporate connections to China into his political science and history degree, and future career. Exposure to the Chinese language and the city that serves as hub of China’s foreign relations could give him an edge if he pursues a doctoral program in history or works as an analyst, perhaps with the government or a think tank.
“I love the program, I love the school, and the intellectual community here is equally impressive,” he wrote. “It’s such a difference between Keuka where I was one of 1,000. Here, I am one of 31 in my cohort surrounded by 30,000 of the best minds from China and abroad.”
Where can a Keuka degree take you? This is the second in a series of snapshot profiles on members of Keuka’s Class of 2012.
Matt McFetridge ’12 graduated cum laude with a degree in political science and history and has been accepted to Tsinghua University (pronounced “Ching Wah”) in Beijing, China, where he will pursue a master’s degree in international relations, starting in September. Tsinghua is considered the “Harvard” of Chinese universities. The degree will be an extension of what McFetridge learned in Keuka classes, where he always tried to find a way to connect the material to China. Primary among his independent educational experiences was the semester-long study he conducted in 2010 as an exchange student at the Yunnan University of Finance and Economics (YUFE) in Kunming, one of Keuka’s partner universities.
Most doctoral history programs require some kind of “language influence,” he said, and exposure to the Chinese language as well as an up-close-and-personal view of activities in the capital city that serves as the hub of U.S.-Chinese relations will give him a distinct advantage.
“It’s a little less orthodox, but for what I want to do, it’s a step up and it may open doors not only to teach at a college, but perhaps lead to a job as an analyst, with the government or a think tank,” McFetridge said.
To explore what might be in your future with a Keuka degree, request more information.
In China, almost everything is different. There’s a premium on space, and the language is totally different, right down to the alphabet characters. But junior Matt McFetridge can’t wait to go back to China for his second semester as an exchange student.
While Keuka College has hosted several Chinese exchange students on its home campus in Keuka Park in recent years, McFetridge is the first Keuka student to study in China. McFetridge started classes Aug. 28, 2010 in what he calls the “Keuka corner” of the Yunnan University of Finance and Economics (YUFE) in Kunming, in the Yunnan province in the south central area of mainland China. YUFE is one of four Chinese universities that have partnered with Keuka College to offer Keuka business management degrees to Chinese students. McFetridge enrolled in business and marketing classes, where he found himself one of about 60 students and the only American student in the classroom. In his three other classes – Chinese history, comprehensive Chinese language, and a Chinese listening and speaking class – McFetridge was the sole student, something he relished because it forced him to improve at a new language, he said.
According to McFetridge, the “Keuka corner” of the YUFE campus has two academic buildings, an administrative building, and two dorms, all within the same amount of space as if between Lightner Library and Space Hall on the home campus. Beyond that area, however, the rest of the YUFE campus is “absolutely huge, five to seven times the size of Keuka,” he said.
At first, he would need Chinese friends to help him communicate with the locals, or to pay for a package of Oreo cookies in a campus store, for example. The fun really started when he ventured off-campus to explore nearby parts of the city.