The University of Michigan-Shanghai Jiao Tong University Joint Institute (UM-SJTU JI, JI hereafter) kicked off its summer semester on May 8, after a spring break of two weeks.

Photos taken during first-day classes of the summer semester

After the lifting of COVID-19-induced travel restrictions and loosening of epidemic control measures in China, international faculty and students have returned to the SJTU Minhang Campus. According to the JI administrative offices, the summer semester curriculum will include 83 undergraduate courses and 15 graduate courses, most of which will be conducted offline in the classrooms and laboratories on the campus.

Group photo of some international students on the Great Lawn of the SJTU campus

“We have registered international students from 19 countries for the summer semester. They will be able to feel the truly international atmosphere, learn abundant knowledge and skills, and build up precious friendships here on the campus,” said JI international student recruitment and service officer Yongqiang Jin.

Assel Surshanova, an undergraduate student who is expected to complete her dual-bachelor-degree program in collaboration with UM in August, has returned to the Shanghai campus from the United States. Having finished her courses of the aerospace engineering major at UM, the Kazakhstani student will continue her studies in mechanical engineering in China. “One of the many reasons why I am excited to return is the opportunity to reconnect with my friends and professors from JI. I am particularly looking forward to taking my senior capstone design class this summer term and conducting research with Professor Shane Johnson. I am thrilled to immerse myself in the student life at the SJTU Minhang campus, discovering all that it has to offer. Moreover, I am excited about exploring the city of Shanghai and experiencing its diverse culture,” she said.

Christopher Anthony, a sophomore student from Trinidad and Tobago, is attending offline classes on the Shanghai campus for the first time. Speaking of the coming summer semester, he said he was thrilled to continue learning in the classroom environment. “Joining and participating in more events unrelated to academics is another priority for me, and I want to integrate more into the JI community and potentially build small communities. I am very excited about all the new people I will meet, both professors and classmates, and I hope that I will be able to make long-lasting connections with many of them.”

Samuel Christopher Dedio (right)  discusses with JI international program officer on his China study plan.

In addition to degree-seeking international students, JI also received two exchange program students from the University of Florida in the United States for the summer semester, including the junior undergraduate student Samuel Christopher Dedio. “I am incredibly grateful to be among the first group of exchange students visiting SJTU after the pandemic. It is an invaluable opportunity for me, as someone who is studying the Chinese language, and it is phenomenal to have such a relationship with the country. I am looking forward to being a part of the campus community this summer and experiencing student life at this prestigious institution,” he said.

The excitement expressed by international students were echoed by some visiting professors from overseas who were invited to teach some of the courses in the summer semester covering the fields including data structures and algorithms, electromagnetics, physics, quantum information, scientific communication writing, and cognitive psychology.

Abdelmadjid Mesli sits with his freshman student Hantian Shi in the canteen.

Abdelmadjid Mesli from the French National Center for Scientific Research is one of the 11 short-term visiting professors. “After three long years, I never thought I’d have the opportunity to return to the institute. I’m grateful to be back and resume my teaching of the fantastic course, VE230. Additionally, I’m thrilled that JI has offered me the chance to teach classical physics to freshmen. This branch of physics was initiated by Galileo some four centuries ago and is known as the starting point of modern physics. Freshmen are my favorite target because, just after high school, students have the mental flexibility to grasp and apprehend basic concepts. For those who show curiosity, this will be a fantastic opportunity to be creative and skilled. My goal is to provide them with the enthusiasm that has driven me since my first years of study,” said Professor Mesli.