China-UU Scholar Association(CUSA)
is an association founded by CSC Ph.D candidates in Utrecht. The Utrecht University has already hosted over more than 100 Chinese Ph.Ds/researches, which is a non-negligible large community working and living in Utrecht. It can be expected that there will be more coming Chinese Ph.Ds/researchers since the mutual trust has been improved to a better extent after the first state visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping. With such a growing number of Chinese scholars and the prospective future of cooperation between China and the Netherladns, increasing attention should be set on the qualities Utrecht Uni has to offer to those Chinese Ph.Ds/researchers in Utrecht. One of these qualities should be also the Utrecht Uni’s trademark: the UU is well known for its reputation on the natural and social science research, which is much appreciated by the Chinese government and academic institutions. Besides that, Utrecht is also known for its international character. In this worldwide-prestigious Utrecht Uni, however, there is no official organization representing such a large community for the aim of qualified research and better life of Chinese Ph.Ds/researchers. That’s why we decided to establish CUSA – for a better cooperation among the university, the scholars and the Chinese academia, a more efficient exchange of information, and also for the well-being of Chinese Ph.D students and researchers in Utrecht. We believe CUSA can play a positive role in bridging different interest entities so that all sides can benefit. In addition, Chinese culture has its very typical identity, which might be the first obstacle newcomers have to go through after their first arrivals in the Netherlands. An interesting phenomenon is that when coming to a new place, Chinese people are used to contacting a formal association, acquiring those relevant information. Thus, a necessity calls for the foundation of a formal association representing this community with a large number of constituents. CUSA will provide an open and friendly environment for new researchers and help them get acquainted to both cultural and academic changes.
CUSA is the acronym of China-UU Scholar Association founded in 2014 April by several Chinese Ph.D candidates sponsored by CSC-UU scholarship. CSC-UU is a bilateral cooperative mechanism for the Chinese Scholarship Council and Utrecht University, aimed at improving the cooperative scientific research between China and the Netherlands. Due to the absence of formal organization representing interests of Chinese Scholars in Utrecht University, the founders decided to take things into their own hands and to look after the interests of Chinese Ph.D/researchers working in Utrecht in order to improve the mutual understanding between the Chinese scholars working in UU and the UU side. As an association being in close contact with Chinese embassy in the Netherlands and PROUT (the network of Utrecht Ph.Ds), CUSA will use its networks to provide high quality of academic research support for those Chinese Scholars. Furthermore, we also think that academic development is going on beyond the scientific research for example taking social responsibility, being co-operative and acquire negotiation, management, social and organising skills. Thus, CUSA is also actively involved into improvement of the non-academic life of Chinese Ph.Ds/researchers in Utrecht.
Adapting to the Dutch research system is one of obstacles unexpected for those new comers. Therefore, the first priority of CUSA is to erase those obstacles set up by the culture differences and misunderstanding between the Chinese Ph.Ds/researchers and their supervisors, facilitating their research process in the new territory. Besides, extra-academic activities give Ph.Ds/researchers opportunities to learn more than just taking in scientific knowledge. In this way Chinese Ph.Ds and researchers get the opportunity to broaden their personality, vision and future career development. CUSA is therefore in its decisions especially focused on ensuring the possibilities of Chinese Ph.Ds and researchers to be active besides their academic research.
CUSA will therefore actively include and represent all of Chinese Ph.Ds/researchers working in Utrecht. As a newly founded organization in Utrecht, CUSA needs to explore all possible resources and facilities available from university and Chinese Ph.Ds/researchers to contribute to their living life and academic research in Utrecht. To have a promising future for the development of CUSA, CUSA will not only actively cooperate with the International Office of Utrecht and PROUT to get as many support as possible from the Utrecht side, but also keep an open mind to the reasonable advice from the Chinese Embassy in the Netherlands for the mutual beneficial relationship between two sides.
We see that it is necessary that scholars still have the incentive to do activities besides their academic research. To facilitate this we see our own experience and enthusiasm as a guideline. The flexibility within the university should provide methods to create such possibilities. We should not only focus on the openness of the university in making decisions and policies but also encourage Chinese Ph.Ds/researchers to utilize the opportunities they have been given. In all cases we see that we not only have to work on the goals for Chinese Ph.Ds/researchers, but also maintain our good contact with the university and the Chinese embassy. Pragmatism is the core key to our initiatives for the development and activities in Utrecht.