“Top Open” Program: Cultivating Academic Talents in Global Culture

On August 21, 2017, Zhang Jinsu left the University of California for Idaho. She sat and waited at Redfish Lake hoping to catch sight of the solar eclipse as it made its way across the east and west coast of American. “There were basically no one at the university that day, everyone was outside waiting to catch sight of this rare astronomical phenomenon.” A few months later, Zhang still remembers this experience.

In 2017, 408 undergraduate students from Tsinghua participated in the “Top Open” Program and went to 102 scientific research institutions across 13 countries. Zhang is one of those students.

“Top Open” Program is a support plan for overseas academic training. Established by Tsinghua’s Youth Committee in 2012, the program is open for sophomores and juniors. Students can contact academic research institutions and scholars from around the world in accordance to their own interests and apply for a chance for overseas research and exchange.

In this year’s program, students fulfilled their training and made outstanding academic achievements: 83 students went on to study at the world’s top 5 universities. As of now, 229 articles have been written including 22 that have been published, 59 under review, 41 people participated in international conferences and 7 inventions became patents.

Every year, Stanford’s UGVR (Undergraduate Visiting Research Program) admits 18 people from China. 13 Tsinghua students were admitted this year and the recipient of 2017 Tsinghua Top Talent Scholarship, Yu Tiancheng is one of them. He spent a month at Stanford. In addition to study, he also had the chance to interact with the professors and got a taste of Stanford’s academic atmosphere.

This year’s program supported many students with a chance to undertake their internship at major international organizations. Li Zihan from the School of Journalism and Communication undertook a summer internship at UNESCO. From understanding the vision of peace to the embodying an international spirit, 43 days working for the United Nations has allowed her to truly understand what she wants to do in the future. “It is important for humanities students to venture out and see the world. You’ll know about which road to take and what you wish to do. You’ll also know what you are good at and what to contribute.” Zhou Li and Ma Rui from the Department of Hydraulic Engineering anticipated in a hydropower construction project in Pakistan and were heavily involved with the research. They also witnessed the contributions made by Tsinghua people in the Belt and Road initiative.

Aoki Tetsuya from the School of Social Sciences was the former director of Tsinghua's Future Anime Games Technology Team. With support from the “Top Open” program, he led a team of 23 people to HAL College of Technology and Design in Japan for an 8-day exchange. During the 8 days, the students worked alongside the Japanese local students and had in-depth study of the Nintendo 3DS development systems. They also produced their own anime games work within 72 hours.

5 years since the launch of this program, 1387 students were supported and encouraged to take on board academic exchanges around the world. Whether it is academic research, study or a sense of self-awareness, “Top Open” program offered everyone a platform and inspired all to hold onto this enthusiasm and autonomy, which is important for academic research. Bing Hao, the secretary of Tsinghua’s Communist Youth League said that “Top Open” program truly encourages undergraduate students to venture out.

To go into this world, to widen our views and gain a global perspective is crucial. One must have the ability to engage in academic dialogues with all civilizations and stay in conversations with top scholars from worldwide institutions. “Top Open” Program hopes that it can encourage Tsinghua students to gain self-improvement and remain at the academic frontier after their oversea exchange and experience.




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