Delegates from the Chinese Embassy in the United States visit 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 United States.

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

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

Counselor Yun Zhang and Attaché Yiwei Fang from the Embassy concluded their morning visit to UTHSC by meeting with the students.

“It’s very nice to talk and share their experiences,” Zhang said. “We want to know how the UTHSC conducts its international engagement with China and what the Chinese Embassy can do about it.”

“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.

“It’s very cold in Harbin, and when you come here, it’s very hot,” Wang continued. “And the winter is also very warm compared to Harbin. But we think it’s pretty cool.

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

The College of Graduate Health Sciences has signed 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 Chinese scholars to come to UTHSC for complete their doctoral training.

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

Dr Thomason said the pandemic and problems with obtaining visas were affecting the number of Chinese students at American universities. “Across the country, the number of students from China to the United States has dropped by 50%,” he said.

“One of the things we’ve been working on here (during the visit) is how to streamline the visa process for students,” the dean said. “I believe we are bouncing back from the difficulties encountered during the pandemic and working to strengthen cooperation between Chinese medical universities and UTHSC.”

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