In its second year, the MA Double Degree in Global Communication program has made tremendous strides in pioneering collaborative education with the Communication University of China (CUC). The program was recently awarded by the Canada-China Business Council with Gold in Educational Excellence at an award ceremony on November 28, 2014.
Lyne Lin is one of the first students who are in their second year of the program, currently studying at CUC in Beijing, China. We've been fortunate enough to get a hold of her in between her studies and overseas adventures, and find out more about her experience in the program.
What does your research focus on? Now that you are studying in China, what are some interesting insights that you have gained in your research?
My research interest is in the area of Asian Media, Popular Culture and Reality-Based Media. For my capstone project at SFU, I examined the politics of Chinese television and I plan to continue with this topic while I study here at CUC. Being in China allows me to have better access to the most up-to-date Chinese reality TV, drama, and festive galas. Better yet, as China’s top university for media studies, CUC frequently holds all sorts of media-related conferences. Just yesterday, I had the fortune of attending a talk featuring the program director of Running Man, a reality television show jointly produced by the Korean SBS and the Chinese Zhejiang Provincial television station. If anything, being in China, especially at CUC, has enabled me to become vigilant of the trends and developments of the Chinese television industry.
How did you hear about the program, and what drew you to choose the Master of Arts Double Degree program with SFU and CUC?
It’s funny how I found out about the program. My parents were reading a Chinese newspaper one morning. In it, they came across an advertisement for the program and thought I should give it a try. After some thought, I choose this program because I knew that having both SFU and CUC degrees would be beneficial. Employers know graduates from these two schools have a different level of maturity. Moreover, I foresee a career in public affairs so enriching my business background with that of Communication would definitely contribute to my career goals. But most importantly, I could not resist the opportunity of studying in Beijing. I was thrilled at the idea of living in a vibrant metropolitan city known to fuse history and contemporary culture together.
What was it about the program that appealed to you the most?
The pedagogical design of the program is definitely unique, it does a fine job at balancing research and praxis. However, what makes this program truly stellar is the people in it. The professors from both SFU and CUC are leading scholars in the Communication field. The opportunity to exchange ideas and thoughts with them has definitely been intellectually stimulating. As for the first program cohort, we are a dynamic bunch with diverse backgrounds. But we have one thing in common – we love to eat. Since coming to Beijing, we had been organizing regular “restaurant crawls” around the town, trying out various cuisines (Uighur, Nanjing, Shanghai, Szechuan, Turkish, etc.) The experiences offered by this program simply are not possible elsewhere.
What advice would you give a prospective student who is interested in the program?
For prospective students who are considering this program, I would advise them not to worry if they do not have a background in Communication. I came into the program with little understanding about the political economies or cultural studies of Communication, but this was not a problem at all. Professors in this program do an amazing job in creating a supportive and encouraging learning environment. I had the freedom to explore intellectually, and to present ideas and get feedback in professional academic settings.
What has your experience in the program been like, so far?
Spectacular and transformational. The program cohort consists of ten brilliant people with extraordinarily dynamic background. Academically, we advance our researches by engaging in critical discussions with each other’s idea. Outside of classes, we travel and have fun together. We also take every opportunity to celebrate our multicultural heritage. Just to give you an idea, we put together a Chinese-Columbian fusion feast in celebration of the Canadian Thanksgiving last year. However, we do have our ups and downs. But in this process, we have learnt to respect, if not appreciate these cross-cultural moments.
What is it like for a day in the life of a student attending the Double Degree program in China?
For the answer to this question, you can check out this SFU News story, written by Diane Lucklow, SFU University Communications!
Having grown up in Poland and lived in Canada, how would you describe the differences or similarities between the two countries and China? What has been the most striking thing for you?
I think the greatest difference between Warsaw, Vancouver, and Beijing is the size of these cities. Typically in Vancouver or in Warsaw you can get to most places you want within twenty minutes to half an hour by bus ride. However in Beijing, spending an hour on the subway or bus is the norm. Just the fact that Beijing has 15 subway lines gives you an idea of its sheer size.
What have been the greatest challenges with the program?
The first two months of the program has been especially challenging for me. Since I majored in commerce during my undergraduate studies, I found the political economic studies of communication to be quite a foreign subject. But my professors had been very supportive and encouraging. They were always willing to answer my questions and help me overcome my difficulties.