Yenching Academy in Peking University is trying to create a network of international professionals with Chinese Knowledge through Yenching Scholarship Program. China, being the next economic superpower, it is inevitable to have such international experts on China ranging from a wide range of subjects in humanities and social science; from economics to history to culture. The program is a fully funded residential program interlaced with academic as well as wide range of extracurricular activities. For more details on Yenching Academy Scholarship you can visit their website: http://yenchingacademy.org/. Here, we have a conversation with Sudarshana Chanda who just got selected for Yenching Scholarship 2016. She will speak to us about Yenching Scholarship.
Could you give us a brief introduction about yourself?
Hello, I am Sudarshana Chanda from Kolkata. I did my BA (honours) in History from Lady Shri Ram College in Delhi University. After that I was selected for Young India Fellowship of the Asoka University. I am also very much passionate about music and work as a part time musician in Delhi. Also had great exposure in art, literature etc. Along with these I am a Teaching Assistant in Ashoka Univeristy with senior civil servant Gopal Krishna Gandhi.
You got selected for the Yenching Scholarship of Peking University. So tell me about it. How did you decide to apply for this scholarship?
I heard about Yenching from my days in Asoka University. I am really interested in Academics. When I came to know that It is about Chinese studies I felt a strong inclination towards it. See, I feel like we have studied so much about the West and there is this obsession with the west. There are so many cultures in East which has not been explored at all, which are more sophisticated, much older and more ancient. And we assume that they are not, we think white American is the best but it is not like that. I wanted to explore that. And also because China is a growing power and everyone is looking at China. I think this is the best time to study about China. So, I applied for Yenching Scholarship.
Who all can apply for the scholarship? What are the admission requirements? Tell me about the application process as well.
Any Indian national who is 18 or above can apply. The applicant must be a graduate. The Yenching Scholarship is given to a 100 graduates from across the world. The selected candidates will be hosted at Yenching Academy which is Peking University. Peking is the oldest and most liberal open University in China.
The selection process consist of
What are the thing we should keep in mind during the application process as well as the interview?
Application Process: Basically what they look in your application is if you have an interest in China. You needn’t necessarily have to do something about it. As long as you have an interest it’s fine.
is what you require. You have to make your Statement of Purpose very attractive.
Interview: Selected candidates will be informed about the interview. The interview is a 15-minute Skype interview. They ask you about things which you have written in the application.
Any Do’s and Don’t s for during application process.
I think you have to build your application in an intelligent way. You have to research in the website and get to know what the course is about and what are they trying to do. I think there are three important things
So basically you have to put some effort in the application process.
So you could choose between many subjects and disciplines there. What subject did you choose and why did you choose ?
I took cultural studies because India and China had a strong cultural tradition right from ancient days. People don’t know this and we see China as our enemy. Indians are not aware of Chinese and Chinese are not aware of Indians. I believe that knowing about the other culture is what bridges the gap. Ultimately what builds friendship is casual talk and not talking about army, and politics. And also India and China are growing powers and it is good to be friends.
What is the curriculum there ?
Apart from the discipline you choose, you will have to do a compulsory course on Chinese language. You are free to choose disciplines from any departments. There are six wide disciplines, Society and culture, history and sociology, law and society, economics and manage, politics and IR and religion and philosophy. And there are lot of extra-curricular activities. Peking is huge campus. There are so many things to do from movie societies to sports.
What do you intend to do after the Scholarship ?
You can do a lot of things . I plan to do further research in Chinese history and culture.
Finally, what according to you would be the most unique feature of this scholarship?
Well, the most amazing thing would be if you are really interested in China this is the place to be. You will get everything for free. From your air travel to China to your tuition, food, accommodation everything would be taken care of . They will pay for your field trips. So you can have a world class experience without spending a single penny.
Another aspect would be the cosmopolitan atmosphere it would offer. There are more than a hundred graduates from more 42 different countries. You will experience diverse people and culture