University attracts students from around the world with scholarships and high-tech programs
After Ammar Hawbani passed the college entrance examination in Yemen with high marks in 2005, he was awarded a national scholarship by the Chinese government and came to China for his university studies later that year.
Instead of studying in linguistic and cultural programs, which have been chosen by many foreign students to China, Hawbani has been studying information science and technology for 11 years at the University of Science and Technology of China, based in Hefei, Anhui province. He is now a post-doctoral researcher focusing on wireless sensor networks.
Although it was the China Scholarship Council that decided which university to accept Hawbani for his undergraduate studies in 2005, he decided to stay on with the university to further his studies after he received his bachelor's degree in 2009.
Foreign students pose for a picture at the First Campus International Cultural Festival of USTC, which was held last month. Provided to China Daily
Since around 2009, USTC has been given full freedom to enroll foreign students. It was also around that time that most of the departments and laboratories in the university began to build their English-language websites.
This change means a lot for students who dream of studying in USTC. Abhishek Narayan Mondal from Calcutta, India, is one such student.
"When I was a postgraduate student of science in India, I read a lot of papers on ion exchange membranes by Xu Tongwen, now my academic supervisor at USTC, and heard a lot about the university," said Mondal.
According to the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2016-2017, released by the London-based magazine Times Higher Education on September 21, USTC ranks No 153 among the world's best universities and third on the Chinese mainland, only behind Beijing-based Peking University and Tsinghua University.
Mondal submitted his application to the university in 2014.
After some strict evaluation, Mondal was admitted by USTC with financial support from a scholarship provided by the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) and the World Academy of Sciences (TWAS).
When Hawbani came to USTC in 2005, there were barely more than 20 foreign students in the university and a little more than 140,000 foreign students in the country.
Over the last decade, especially since the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road initiatives, was proposed in 2013, more and more foreign students from developing countries have been flocking to China.
"Nowadays, there are more than 500 foreign students studying at USTC, with most of them from Belt and Road countries," said Jiang Jiajie, deputy director of USTC's office of international cooperation.