Reporters on the Job

Pulse of the Campus : Talking with college students can be a useful window on societal concerns of the day. While reporting today's story about the explosion of new universities in China (page 1), staff writer Amelia Newcomb met with a small and affable group of upperclassmen and new grads from top-ranked Tsinghua University (pronounced CHING-wah). Like their American peers, they're thinking about who they are, how they'll stay in touch with friends, whether to go to grad school or find a job.

"If one thing was clear, it was their intense awareness of being at the forefront of young people coming of age in a new, competitive China," Amelia says. "Over and over, I heard comments about the need to prove their ability, the competition from more grads coming out of universities, the benefit of practical knowledge, the desire to land a job that has cachet. They also approved of the increasing number of academic choices available to undergraduates and the rising number of international faculty. And they did this all in quite fluent and occasionally colloquial English."

Luo Sheng, a senior and mechanical-engineering major from Hunan province, told Amelia that he thought it was a great time to be a young Chinese. "You have chances you maybe never dared to think about five years ago," he said. "I used to think going abroad would be a bright future, but now I think staying in the homeland is bright. It's like the name of this cafe: Space of Imagination."

David Clark Scott
World editor

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