Although China has liberalized regulations on overseas study, enabling tens of thousands of college students to travel abroad annually, the process of getting accepted into an overseas program remains complex.
Dr. Yihong Li, an Associate Professor of Basic Science & Craniofacial Biology and Director of International Research, has made it a priority to ease the way for mainland Chinese students to come to NYUCD, and she has succeeded, as demonstrated by the enrollment in September 2007 of four students from mainland China, the first-ever mainland Chinese students to enroll at NYUCD directly from China.
A native of Beijing who came to the United States 17 years ago to pursue a doctoral degree in public health at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, Dr. Li has a keen understanding of the workings of higher education in China, as well as an extensive network of academic contacts assembled during her frequent visits home.
Earlier this year, when the Chinese government announced that it would fund two years of overseas study for 1,500 PhD candidates in oral biology from top Chinese universities, deans from several Chinese dental schools contacted Dr. Li for help in matching their PhD students with research programs at U.S. dental schools.
Dr. Li helped to arrange for two students currently enrolled in PhD programs in China to spend the next two years working with her NYUCD colleague, Dr. Page Caufield, Professor of Cariology & Comprehensive Care, on the genetic profiling of oral bacteria.
Dr. Li also helped facilitate the enrollment of two dentists from Beijing and Chengdu in the Advanced Programs for International Dentists in Comprehensive Dentistry and in Implant Dentistry. Noting that NYU and Peking* University recently forged a memorandum of understanding to develop faculty and student exchange programs in graduate and professional fields of study, Dr. Li said she hopes that NYUCD students will eventually have the opportunity to train in a Chinese dental school.
Today, educators in both China and the United States share the view that a global experience is an indispensable part of a student’s training, says Dr. Li. That is certainly the view of NYU President John Sexton, who envisions NYU becoming a ‘global network university,’ anchored in New York City, but with nodes of the network throughout the world. It is a vision that NYUCD strongly supports and seeks to help make a reality.
* Although Beijing is the standard way of referring to China’s capital city, Peking University is the official name of the school.↩