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.
Editor’s Note: The Keuka China Program (KCP) is a bona fide success story. From modest beginnings in 2002, KCP now enrolls some 3,000 students at four major universities [Tianjin University of Science and Technology (TUST), Jimei University (JMU), Wenzhou University (WZU), and Yunnan University of Finance and Economics (YUFE)] and five separate schools in China. Not only does Keuka College boast the largest enrollment of any American college or university operating in China, but the College’s alumni ranks have swelled by some 6,000 thanks to KCP. One of the key authors of the KCP success story is Administrative Chancellor for China Campuses Dr. Michael T.C. Hwang. It was Hwang and President Emeritus Dr. Joseph G. Burke who spearheaded the development of KCP and to mark the 10th anniversary of the program, I talked with Dr. Hwang about his personal and professional attachment to KCP.
KM: What was it about Keuka College that convinced you that this partnership could work?
MH: We had the same mission and vision to create excellent educational opportunities for Chinese students. I discovered that Keuka College was student-centered and valued experiential education, which meshed with the focus of my professional career. Our partner relationship is interdependent; like “I need you as much as you need me.”
KM: Back in the formative stages KCP, did you ever envision that Keuka College would one day be the largest provider of an American education in China?
MH: No, but I am not surprised that it has. Keuka came into China at just the right time. It is a trend of the times.
One of Keuka College’s four partner universities in China—Yunnan University of Finance and Economics (YUFE)— recently marked its 60th anniversary.
Keuka President Dr. Jorge L. Díaz-Herrera, Vice President for the Center for Professional Studies Dr. Gary Smith, and Administrative Chancellor for China Campuses Dr. Michael Hwang were on hand for the celebration.
“It was a great opportunity for us to show our commitment to this relationship,” said Smith.
As part of the celebration, President Díaz-Herrera delivered a presentation on “Global Learning and Exploration: A Reality.”
“The internationalization of education is today an institutional imperative,” said the president. “Today’s graduates need skills that allow them to be resilient and agile, global, and cross-functional capable.”
Díaz-Herrera said a global higher education ecosystem was needed to provide all students “global intelligence,” and key components of that ecosystems are study and work abroad exchanges.
“That will help prepare graduates for success in a global society,” he said.