11 students from Tsinghua University in China traveled across the world to visit Barnard President Debora Spar in 109 Milbank on Thursday.
These student delegates are currently touring the East Coast in conjunction with Global China Connection, a student-run non-profit that connects Chinese student leaders in an international network.
On Thursday, representatives from GCC’s Columbia chapter invited these students to meet with Spar, who said in the meeting that she visits China about once a year as part of a partnership with some of the universities in Beijing, as well as for personal research.
There are a number of Chinese students studying at Barnard, she told the students, adding that she did some research in China a couple of years ago on the development of stem cell science.
“Asia is really becoming a hub” for this kind of research, Spar said, showing the students a copy of her book translated into Chinese.
Because there’s only one all-female University in China, Spar said that women’s colleges in America are particularly relevant. “In this country there’s still a large number of female-only schools,” she said.
Spar also spoke about common gender inequities, telling the students that women earn only about 78 cents to every dollar earned by men.
“There is current data that suggests that you get a slightly different experience by going to an all-women’s college. Even though there are men in most of our classes, women are the majority,” Spar said. One hope, she explained, is that with a large female academic network, more women will have an easier time in the workforce.
Some of the visiting students said that spending time overseas is a good networking opportunity, and also a chance to learn about U.S. professional and academic life.
Echo Gao, a student from Tsinghua University, said, “I am here to learn the merits of the future leaders of America.”
GCC’s Associate Director of Communications Jeff Cao, CC ‘13, said that these kinds of interactions help students learn about each other’s cultures. “Our goal is to bring students back and forth from China and the U.S. to try and help them understand each other,” he said, adding, “They got a pretty broad idea of what academia is like in the U.S.”