‘Tomorrow begins with what you do today’ are the words Austrian student Thomas Palecek chooses to share with the new students commencing at Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University this month.
Today he addressed the new student cohort – made up of more than 4000 domestic students and 600 international students from 33 countries and regions - at the University’s official opening ceremony, which was held at Dushu Luke Stadium in Suzhou.
Thomas, a postgraduate student representative currently studying operations and supply chain management, shared his experiences at XJTLU, highlighting the unique educational model the University offers its students.
“Our University offers the best of both the Western and Eastern worlds. By linking to and learning from different cultures, XJTLU is on the one hand picking up one of the oldest concepts of education, and on the other hand revolutionising the global education system,” he said.
“XJTLU, a young, dynamic and open-minded institution, is an exceptional place to learn, study and experience different cultures.
“It is a place where you have the freedom to develop yourself in any chosen direction or field. You have access to outstanding resources and opportunities, which are just waiting to be taken.
“I sincerely advise all of you [the new students] to make use of them to create and form the foundation for a bright and prosperous future.”
Alumni Wenxiang Huang, who studied accounting at XJTLU’s International Business School Suzhou and now works at the Development Bank of Singapore, also had some advice for the incoming students.
In his speech at the ceremony, he said studying at XJTLU can change people from ordinary to extraordinary. He offered the new students four practical tips to get the most out of their time at the University.
“Set a real life goal for yourself – it doesn’t matter if it’s to help your basketball team get to the championship or to speak a second language well, but the goal should be difficult to achieve and measureable step by step,” he said.
“Make sure you get out to embrace new experiences. Now is the best time in our life to get out to see the world.
“Join student clubs and get internships. These experiences will not only help you identify what you love and can do well, but also provides feedback on what you dislike. The earlier you have clues about that, the sooner you will be on the fast-track to growth.
“Lastly, get quality sleep and build up a healthy body. A good body is the foundation to overcome difficulties and enjoy your life to the fullest.”
XJTLU Executive President, Professor Youmin Xi, also welcomed the new cohort of students and their families, taking the opportunity to discuss the phenomenon of ‘giant babies’. The term refers to people who are biologically adults, but whose psychological and social maturity resembles that of an infant.
“XJTLU seeks to achieve nine changes across three stages for our students, namely changing from child to young adult to world citizen, changing from passive learning to active learning to research-guided learning, and changing from blind studying to interest-driven study to life-planning,” he said.
“I sincerely hope, as you [the students] enter into life at XJTLU, that you can internalise our educational philosophy and quickly make the transition to becoming competitive world citizens with international perspectives.
“I also ask parents to stop worrying, let go and change your attitudes; to join us in helping students gain experience, grow and become responsible for their future.
“We will find that the sky will not fall down, and that our letting go and allowing our students to grow will bring us a wonderful surprise.”
Professor Wenquan Tao, president of XJTLU, closed the opening ceremony formalities, offering his well wishes to the new student cohort.
"And so, dear freshmen, work hard, learn to explore the fun of learning, meet challenges head-on and spend your undergraduate study effectively here in Suzhou," he said.
"I wish all students a year full of progress, curiosity, discovery and creativity. I also wish all of us a new academic year of health and success."
Classes at XJTLU commence on September 3. For more information on the University’s induction program, go to the Induction Week event page.