Urban planning and design alumni gather for first time

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Twenty-five graduates from the Department of Urban Planning and Design at Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University gathered together for the first UPD career development fair on Saturday 26 March.

The alumni reunion aimed to support urban planning and design graduates in their career development, making full use of the UPD alumni network, and to help current students set targets for their future career, thereby nurture an active learning environment.

XJTLU Executive President Professor Youmin Xi attended the event, delivering a welcome speech, noting how important the XJTLU alumni community is to the ongoing development of the University.

Six representatives from the first cohort of urban planning and design students to start at XJTLU in 2009 - Jinghan Cao, Yubing Chen, Qianqiu Li, Jinchi Tang, Xueying Chen, Yitao Chen - shared their experiences of applying for postgraduate study and spoke about their career development.

Thanks to varied experiences, their talks covered a range of topics raised by current students, including whether studying at the University of Liverpool on the 2+2 study route or staying at XJTLU for the full length of their degree programmes will lead to different careers, what the differences are in applying for and conducting postgraduate study in the UK, USA, Germany, Australia and other counties, and what current students might experience in practice after graduation, such as working in urban planning, urban design, consultancy in real estate development, or doing a PhD and research.

After their speeches, Professor Xi issued a certificate to each speaker to acknowledge their contribution to the event. He said their speeches were “very impressive” and that their experience demonstrated the successful implementation of the ‘Five-Star’ education model at XJTLU, whereby students are treated as young adults as part of the University’s mission to provide them with not only subject-based knowledge, but also lifelong learning skills, independence of thought, team working capabilities, the ability to handle uncertainty and new problems, and other important attributes that global citizens need to possess.

Professor Xi added that he would like to welcome the speakers to return to the University to celebrate XJTLU’s 10th anniversary later this year.

Huazhen Ji, a current Year Three student and the student representative of the UPD Student Society, said: “It is important to learn from the alumni as, though their experience, I can have a clear vision for my future career. And now I will study more actively in order to move towards this target step by step.” She added that she hoped similar activities could be held in the future.

Dr Bing Chen, a lecturer in the Department of Urban Planning and Design and who organised the event, said: “Since starting in the Department of Urban Planning and Design at XJTLU in 2011, I have witnessed the growth of our department and university. I am so glad to see our graduates have been successful in their career development. I hope that, based on the XJTLU UPD alumni network, we can receive more feedback from our graduates and improve our learning and teaching activities accordingly. By working together, we can drive the department towards a better future.”

The event was supported by staff in the Department of Urban Planning and Design, including Dr Joon Kim, Dr Giulio Verdini, Dr Werner Breitung, and Suying Chen, as well as by the Student Admissions and Career Development Office at XJTLU.

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