Broadened horizon for Yuxia Jiang
Where are our international alumni now? Did they return to their home country after graduation or did they end up going elsewhere in the world? What did they get out or their studies? Is Tilburg University still on their minds? Where did the path from Tilburg University lead for alumna Yuxia Jiang from China?
be open-minded, be inclusive and respect different cultures, religions and diversity
Master Management of Cultural Diversity
When I think of Tilburg University...
"Looking back, I am still very happy with the choice I made. Studying at Tilburg University opened many doors for me and helped me expand my horizons. I’ve gained lots of new experiences, learned about different cultures and ways of thinking, met many creative minds, and made friends with many interesting and aspiring individuals from all over the world."
"The fantastic thing was that the program was both practical and stimulating. I got to know and discuss with the professors and my fellow classmates the different aspects of cultural diversity from different perspectives, such as the social psychology of ethnic identity, language policy and national identity, managing religious diversity in multicultural cities, and EU policies on immigration and diversity issues."
It took me some time to feel comfortable to voice my opinions
"The fantastic thing was that the program was both practical and stimulating. I got to know and discuss with the professors and my classmates the different aspects of cultural diversity from different perspectives, such as the social psychology of ethnic identity, language policy and national identity, managing religious diversity in multicultural cities, and EU policies on immigration and diversity issues."
"One of the major challenges was to adapt to a different way of teaching and learning. In China, education is often teacher-centered: teachers give lengthy lectures, and students are often spoon-fed and expected to take notes or just absorb information. At Tilburg University, there was more of a coaching style, where the lecturers share knowledge, demonstrate their expertise, and provide feedback to students to improve understanding and promote learning. Students are required and encouraged to engage in discussions and voice their own opinions, instead of just receiving information from the lecturers. It took me some time to feel comfortable to voice my opinions in front of my very open and frank Dutch classmates."
What is your take-home message from Tilburg University?
One of the major takeaways from my studies at the university is to remain open-minded, tolerant and non-judgmental towards different cultures, religions, ethnicities, different ways of working and living. When people from various backgrounds share their different perspectives and innovative ideas, this diversity can bring strength if it is respected.
Always try to make a difference if you can
"Always have sympathy for the vulnerable group and try to make a difference for them if you can. I contribute that lesson learned to Prof. Mirjam van Reisen, for whom I have a lot of respect, in particular for her project about human trafficking in the Sinai. In her course, she discussed her study about the humanitarian issue in the area and the miserable experiences some women and children went through after being trafficked. Professor Van Reisen’s keen concerns of the issue and her efforts into studying the problem and raising awareness among policy makers, the media, and the public have left a deep and lasting impression on me. Now I am working in the humanitarian sector, I often think of her studies, and the time we spent discussing the issue. It is a source of inspiration for me to continue my humanitarian efforts."
"My takeaways from the university are being open-minded, being inclusive, and respecting different cultures, religions and diversities. They have inspired me to be more open to different cultures and ideas. That is particularly important at work when you work with colleagues from different countries, cultures, with different personalities and idiosyncrasies in ways of working and managing."
What are you doing now?
Before she came to study at Tilburg University, Yuxia was working as a journalist for an English newspaper in Beijing. “After graduation, I returned to Beijing and started a new career in communications. After four years at the Swiss Embassy in Beijing, I joined the International Committee of the Red Cross Regional Delegation for East Asia in 2019, as the deputy head of the Communication department, overseeing our communication activities in the region.
Beijing is very fast-paced but I try to have my own rhythm outside work. On weekdays after work, I usually go to the gym or have some ‘me’ time of reading and relaxation. On weekends, I meet my friends and family and try to go outdoors and go hiking as much as possible to enjoy nature and the mountains around the city.”
What trail did Yuxia blaze in Tilburg?
"I would say a closer understanding of China and the vast and diverse Chinese cultures. With my classmates, I had quite some discussions and exchanges about Chinese history, cultures, social issues, and the education system. These were held either in class, or during coffee breaks and dinner parties. For some classmates it was the first time they met and exchanged thoughts with a Chinese student."