Two Year 4 BEng Architecture students, Yu Liu and Jiayi Qian, were recently awarded XJTLU Study Abroad Scholarships from XJTLU Global based on their academic performance. They just returned from their study abroad programme at the Politecnico di Torino (PoliTo) in Turin, Italy, where they stayed from September 2019 to August 2020.
(Jiayi Qian: third from left to right, Yu Liu: fourth from left to right)
“It was amazing that I could see those extraordinary architecture I have only seen in books or pictures for myself,” says Yu Liu when talking about the biggest benefits for studying abroad as an Architecture student.
Italy is one of the most “worshipped” countries for Architecture students with its countless ancient or modern architecture masterpiece, says Jiayi Qian.
“It was a precious period of time for me to be put in a different cultural and architectural environment for an academic year,” she says. “I was inspired by many professors and researchers who are passionate about Western architecture, and the European cities themselves are great textbooks.”
From the one-year study, Qian was able to develop a deeper understanding of the knowledge that previously only existed in books, and to think more about the relationship between people and architecture.
However, the differences of learning and teaching mode between XJTLU and Politecnico di Torino was one of the challenges for Qian while studying in Italy. “They paid more attention to aspects such as structural mechanics and practical construction details, which were not taught as much at XJTLU,” says Qian.
“But those challenges pushed me to adapt quickly to new situations and explore how to solve new problems on my own,” she says.
When the Covid-19 pandemic broke out in Northern Italy, they managed to react calmly to the situation without actual help or company from their parents.
Except for the improvement of self-care and crisis response ability, they also developed stronger interest in different cultures, which will allow them to further expand their horizons in the future.
“There is no need to be afraid or have unrealistic fantasy of your exchange life,” says Liu, “For me, it is a process to be open-minded to what I was going to face, accept and think rather than judge or have conclusions immediately.”
Qian also gave advice to other XJTLU students who is thinking about studying abroad. “We should embrace the good things abroad but also know when to criticize,” she says, “Julius Caesar said ‘I came, I saw, I conquered’, but for us, it should be ‘I came, I saw, I learnt’.”
“The academic year abroad should be a self-criticizing process. We may struggle, but eventually we will develop capabilities essential to our life journey, and become a real adult and world citizen,” says Qian.
By Yi Qian
Photos provided by Yu Liu and Jiayi Qian