After three years of online teaching, virtual interactions and negotiating time zones, XJTLU’s International students gathered on campus for the first time since China’s borders reopened.

On 22 February, more than 260 XJTLU students from around the world were welcomed back by X-Global staff for an onsite induction. The students were able to meet each other in person, explore the campus and start to enjoy the benefits of being international students in China.


Over 260 international students are welcomed back to XJTLU

For many, this is their first time on campus.

Fenela Ariya Claresta is in her second year of BEng Computer Science and Technology but completed her first year of studies online.

She says: “I arrived about a week ago and have been exploring Suzhou since then. I’m excited to get started with onsite lectures as there are too many distractions at home, and it’s difficult to focus during online classes.

“It’s also so much easier and less awkward to interact with the other students now that we are all here. It’s great to be on campus and finally meet everyone. I can’t wait to get to know everyone properly and adapt to life in China.”

Students meet each other for the first time at the XJTLU’s first induction for international students since China’s borders reopened

Onsite lectures start this week, and for many, this will be a welcome return to face-to-face teaching.

Michelle Lionard, a Year Four BSc Financial Mathematics student, also from Indonesia and Claresta’s roommate, says: “After nearly three years away, it feels strange being back and adjusting to life here again. Most of my friends who started the course at the same time as me have gone on to get jobs, and I was beginning to think that I would never be able to come back. I’m so pleased to have finally made it.”

Kanghyun Kim and Seungje Lee, both from South Korea and Year Two BA TV production students, have also been away from the campus since the first semester of their programme. During the pandemic, they both returned to South Korea to complete their military service and arrived back in Suzhou this month.

Kim says: “I’m excited to be back in this environment, to live in Suzhou again and to meet new and old friends. It’s great to have our lectures in English and be able to practice our Chinese at the same time.”

Lee adds: “I’m really happy to be back on campus again and for classes to no longer be online. It feels like returning to my second hometown.”

By Catherine Diamond

Edited by Patricia Pieterse

Photos by Yuyang Zhang and Meiting Shu Ye

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