Yumeng Dong has had a special guest these past weeks: the vice president of Suihua No.7 College from China, who is also her father. She has just completed the first year of her Food Safety Master’s programme and was waiting for a chance to show her father – who is very passionate about education – around the WUR campus.
‘My father has been a teacher and education director for almost 30 years now. He heard from me about all the advanced teaching and lab equipment we have at WUR and he really wanted to see it,’ said Yumeng. ‘He was fascinated by the classrooms that have a movable wall between them. He also liked the idea of having discussion rooms with a whiteboard for students; it is very helpful and encouraging for students to communicate more and share their ideas.’ During the tour, Yumeng made a video for her father to take back home with him and show everyone. Perhaps it will be used as an inspiration for renovations of his college in the future.
Influenced by her father, Yumeng wants to become a teacher. She thinks it is important to combine the Western way of teaching with the traditional Chinese educational system. While guiding her father around different buildings and listening to his opinions, she clearly saw the differences between Chinese colleges and WUR. ‘For instance, the students here are encouraged to communicate more; the students are provided with plenty of space and services for both casual and formal communication. Also, WUR puts a lot of effort into providing a generally nice environment. This really helps to reduce stress. Stress is not something we pay much attention to in Asia generally,’ said Yumeng.
‘I think it was a really good idea to invite my father here. What he observed and concluded can help him improve his college and also helps me in my future career. I have learnt more from this trip than I thought. This is an unexpected “summer course” for me!’ said Yumeng happily.