"Love beyond Voices" Webinar Series


As the recent COVID-19 lockdowns continue, countless universities find creative ways to support their communities. On March 20, 2022 (Sunday), the School of Education (SOE), International Student Center, and International Student Service Center at Shanghai Jiaotong University (SJTU) came together and held the webinar “Let's Talk: The Stories of International Students”, focusing on supporting their international students on campus. The one-hour webinar was led by Dr. ZHANG Xiaoqiao and Dr. LIU Huabing, two new faculty members from the SOE.

Dr. ZHANG Xiaoqiao, Assistant Professor from the SOE

Dr. LIU Huabing, Lecturer from the SOE

As two former international students, LIU first introduced her own experience of studying abroad. She then led the conversation by sharing the encounter from 5 most experienced challenges for international students: language and cultural adaptation, social problems, academic struggles, long-distance relationships (with family and friends, back home) and negative emotions while being abroad. Starting from her own cross-cultural experiences, LIU shared four coping methods of self-regulation from the perspective of research and clinical application: learning more and integrating more, understanding one's own shortcomings, obtaining support from all aspects, and setting realistic goals.

Later, ZHANG shared her 16 years of living abroad, from an exchange student since high school in the US to work as a new faculty at SJTU. She had faced various challenges, such as losing all her luggage since day one, having difficulties with languages, finding ways to build communities through sports, and building confidence with others through being a cultural ambassador. She used her stories to inspire other international students to be more confident with their languages and culture while encouraging domestic students to find more ways to welcome and support their international classmates. Lastly, ZHANG shared the research scholars have done and the growth journey in the lockdown from three stages: Fear zone, learning zone and growth zone, and encouraged everyone to overcome difficulties and embrace the beauty of life.

During the webinar, many international students spoke enthusiastically. For example, one Master’s student from Ghana described how she overcame the language barrier and gradually fell in love with the Chinese culture and language. And another student from another university mentioned how she was so happy to see an event like this to support the international students’ community.

At the end of the event, both faculty members also shared the campus emergency contact information and mental health resources for international students provided by SJTU's International Student Development Center. As the last PowerPoint slide shown, “Let’s overcome the difficulties together, SJTU is with you!