For many years, Chinese students have been coming to Wageningen University for a master course, but students of Wageningen University are not yet going to China for part of their education. That has to change, say the directors of the China Agricultural University and Wageningen University.
Strategic Partner Agreement
The China Agricultural University (CAU) has plans to offer more of its education in English, to accommodate international students. “Student exchange with CAU should be possible within a few years”, says Paul Geurts, International Relations Manager at Wageningen UR and co-author of the Strategic Partner Agreement that the directors of CAU and Wageningen UR signed on September 27. In this agreement, the two universities also state that they will explore the opportunities for joint research projects and that they will jointly seek external research funding.
Annually, some 150 Chinese students start a master course at Wageningen University. About 25 of them come from CAU. "We want to offer Wageningen students the opportunity to also do some subjects in China”, says Geurts. “They will not go to CAU for a full master, but our students can do part of their education there. A minor, for instance. The aim is to set up exchange programmes, like we have with European universities." All this cannot be arranged in the current academic year, Geurts points out, but such should be in place in a year or two. He explains why this time is required: "Firstly, CAU has to set up courses in English. Secondly, the courses of CAU and Wageningen University have to be interchangeable, or complementary. And thirdly, both universities and both governments have to recognize the quality of the education."
Wageningen Day in China
A fairly large delegation from Wageningen travelled to China in the last week of September to investigate how the cooperation with CAU could be improved. Six Wageningen professors and the Director of Dairy Campus spoke in 'matchmaking workshops' with their Chinese counterparts about potential partnerships. They specifically discussed four topics: dairy, biomass, development economics and food technology. Wageningen UR Chairman Aalt Dijkhuizen spoke with the President and the Chairman of CAU. He also had lunch with the Dutch ambassador to China, the vice mayor of Beijing, the mayor of Amsterdam and some representatives of the Chinese and Dutch companies.
Alumni Meeting in China
Part of this ‘Wageningen Day’ was a reunion for Wageningen University alumni living in China. Over a hundred former students from all over China attended the meeting at the Dutch Embassy in Beijing.