Reaching for the Sky at DKU

May 25, 2016  click:

 

Editor: Liu Xueshuang is a former member of WHU English correspondent group and got to know DKU through a series of activities held by Office of International Affairs, WHU.

Life is full of surprises and coincidences. A happy coincidence befell on me last year, taking me to Duke Kunshan University---a joint venture university co-established by Duke University and Wuhan University in 2014---where I interned as the Personal Assistant and Translator to Executive Vice Chancellor of Duke Kunshan University. Many people may find JV universities mysterious. A peek into my intern life may facilitate a better understanding of Duke Kunshan!

LEED Campus

Green, clean, modern, high-tech… these are the words that popped into my mind when I was given my first campus tour at DKU. A mixture of modern and ancient elements, the campus is distinguished by its extensive use of aquatic elements, where energy-efficiency and environment-friendliness are most prominent. On March 24, 2016, DKU was awarded LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification in recognition of the University’s commitment to sustainable and green architecture, marking the first among universities in China. It should be noted that the University’s facilities are designed to serve human needs, creating a healthy and cozy space for students, faculty and staff to study, live, and communicate. Ceiling-to-floor glass curtain walls in the Academic Building, Conference Center and several other buildings optimize natural light and views while reducing energy consumption. Classrooms are equipped with air filtration and carbon dioxide monitoring systems that automatically pump in fresh air; 32 percent of the campus site area is covered by oxygen-generating native plants; decorative materials are strictly selected to ensure a low VOC emission level that reaches the highest green adhesives standard of E1 and E0; and smoking is banned in all indoor areas on campus.

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Working at DKU

The Duke Kunshan community features an international network of elite figures in higher education, R&D and business. I have so much to learn from everyone here. As the Personal Assistant and Translator to Executive Vice Chancellor of DKU, my job description includes doing interpreting and translation work for the Chancellor’s Office, travelling with the EVC or other university leaders to interpret meetings, conferences or lectures when necessary, and assisting the Secretary of Chancellor with some administrative work. During the half-a-year internship, I have had the honor of interpreting for Duke President Richard Broadhead in his meetings with Vice Premier Liu Yandong, Jiangsu Governor and Suzhou Mayor as well as in his visits to the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Environment Protection, Chinese Academy of Science, State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs, and Development Research Center of the State Council, etc. This internship has not only provided an excellent platform for me to perform translation and interpreting, but also allowed me to learn enormously from my colleagues who are very competent and extremely nice.

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Learning at DKU

The Duke Kunshan community has always been imbued with profound academic and learning atmosphere, as evidenced by the regular Colloquium series, the Vision series, and frequent lectures and workshops given by well-established Chinese and international figures in all sectors. All staff (including interns) can sit in the lectures as long as they are interested. In addition, DKU boasts good library resources backed by Duke. The Library supports the DKU’s mission to become a world class liberal arts and research university that addresses the changing needs of global higher education and global challenges. All DKU faculty, students and staff (including interns) can not only borrow books from the physical DKU library, but also enjoy access to the vast e-library resources of Duke. Highlighting the University's academic endeavors, the campus is aimed at serving as an interactive and innovative teaching and learning hub as well as a scholarly gateway to enhance intellectual discovery, cultivate creativity, as well as promote scholarship and exchange of knowledge.

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Exercising at DKU

In the spirit of helping employees to lead a healthy and balanced life, the university has installed some excellent exercising and entertainment facilities and equipment in the gym, such as treadmills, ping-pang table and pool table, etc. In addition, dancing, yoga and tai-chi classes are offered for free to anyone who is interested, with high-caliber professionals invited to teach participants. The work here can be quite intensive, so we have to stay healthy and energetic enough to do a good job. Personally, I would often practice Yoga, play table tennis or do some running and other exercises in the gym to keep fit. In the 2015 DKU 1st Union Cup Staff and Faculty Table Tennis Competition, I was fortunate enough to win the First Prize both in Women’s Single and Mixed Doubles.

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Having fun at DKU

The employees here are hard-working but never boring. Efficient people know how to work hard and play even harder. The Annual Party is a big festive gathering where all staff and faculty are pooled to have a dinner together and stage some performances to celebrate the New Year and entertain ourselves. Besides, there are many other entertainment activities going on at the campus during regular weekends.  For instance, the first Pineapple Music Festival was held on March 26, where student hosts kicked off the event with energy and laughter, and the singers kept wowing the audience with their performance of English songs, Chinese songs, solo and chorus. More than 30 students, faculty and staff members basked in the warm sunshine and wonderful music on campus lawn.

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The Duke Kunshan University that I experienced is an international, intellectual community that encourages diversity, openness and creative learning.  It is a place for learning, living and growing in a setting that encourages the pursuit of knowledge within and beyond the classroom. This wonderful experience has been very impactful on my life. I shall always remain proud to be part of this warm international family!

 Duke Kunshan University (DKU) is a partnership of Duke University and Wuhan University to create a world-class university offering a range of academic programs and conferences for students from China and throughout the world. Duke Kunshan is located in Kunshan, Jiangsu province, China.

Duke Kunshan University welcomed its first students in August 2014 and currently offers graduate degrees and semester-long programs for undergraduate students enrolled at Duke and other universities.

With the goal of spearheading the future of higher education, Duke Kunshan University is influenced and informed by both Chinese and American traditions of higher education. The shared vision of Duke University and Wuhan University is that Duke Kunshan will help address the changing needs of global higher education. Their rich heritage inspires Duke Kunshan University to pursue academic excellence and integrity and to apply classroom knowledge in service to society. Duke Kunshan University delivers academic programs designed to address society’s future needs through a curriculum based in the liberal arts tradition and a commitment to problem-based learning that challenges students to apply their knowledge during the learning process.

A state-of-the art campus covers a 200-acre area in Kunshan's Yangcheng Lake Science and Technology Park. Located in close proximity to both Shanghai and Suzhou, and connected to both by high-speed rail, the city of Kunshan is a center for business and high-tech research and manufacturing.  It has one of the fastest growing economies in China.

(AuthorLiu Xueshuang, quoted from http://en.whu.edu.cn/)


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