Qiyun and Chi - working together with the Department of Geography and it's Smart City project | Tartu Ülikooli aasia keskus

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Sun Qiyun and Yuan Chi

Qiyun and Chi - working together with the Department of Geography and it's Smart City project

Sun Qiyun and Yuan Chi are exchange students from Shanghai University (People´s Republic of China). They have come to Tartu to partake in courses of the Urban Planning: Changing Cities and ICT module offered by the Department of Geography and to be a part of the department’s Smart City project.

I met with the young gentlemen to hear about their experience so far. At the time of our meeting Qiyun and Chi had only been in Tartu for around two weeks.

What is your first impression of Tartu and Estonia?

Qiyun: It is so cold here. (both laugh)

Chi: It is currently around 10 degrees in Shanghai.

How do you manage with the cold?

Qiyun: We just stay in the dormitory, except for classes. (both laugh again)

What do you study?

Chi: Back at home we are Masters students of Communication and Information Engineering.

Why did you decided to come to Estonia?

Qiyun: My supervisor at Shanghai University, Wan Wanggen, who is also the Director of Smart City Institute, has a cooperation with professor Rein Ahas*. He sent us here to do research work with professor Ahas and to set up further collaboration.

Chi: We also cherish this opportunity to get to know many people from different countries and to improve our English.

How would you compare the lectures in Tartu with those back in Shanghai?

Qiyun: There are fewer students in class and it is more active here. More participation is needed.

Chi: In Shanghai University, a course may have more than 30 students, but here some courses only have five students. There is also more conversation with the teacher. Because everything is in English and our major is not geography, it I can be quite difficult at times to express ourselves and to understand everything fully.

Qiyun: There is also more homework in Estonia.

Besides the weather, what has been the biggest difference between China and Estonia?

Qiyun: It is very crowded in Shanghai. In Tartu, the population density is much smaller and the air is fresh. It is very comfortable to buy groceries here as there are many supermarkets and few people. It takes a lot more time in Shanghai.

Chi: The city landscape is also different as the buildings are much smaller than in Shanghai.

Had you heard of Estonia before?

(a moment of awkward silence)

Both: No! (we all laugh)

Qiyun: We did not have much knowledge about Estonia beforehand, but many of our Chinese friends here have told us useful information about the country and how things are done around here.

What are your expectations for the 3 months?

Qiyun: We will first take part of the lectures and then do research together with the professor. Hopefully we can also visit some places, meet new people and to learn some English.

If suddenly another Chinese student needs to come to Tartu, what would be your one recommendation to him or her?

Qiyun: Bring more clothes!

Chi: You must take more clothes, it is so cold. You will also get more knowledge from the classes and have an opportunity to travel around.

Qiyun: I just want to add that you will have a good experience and meet many people of other European countries.

Thank you!

*A comment from professor Rein Ahas:

Director Wan Wanggen is an old associate of ours and we currently have joint research projects. For example, we are conducting research about mobile and social media based management of emergencies.

The people of Shanghai University Smart City Institute have great interest in our research and methodology. They focus more on computer science, whereas we deal with geographic applications.

We also want to improve our study-cooperation. Qiyun and Chi will be helping out with our Smart City project. One of our research projects focuses on the influence of job volatility in Tartu. We measure the movement of respondents through smartphones. They have the relevant computer science background and we need this input to analyse our large amount of data.

Written by Mart Veliste, 23.02.17