To study in Shanghai was a rare and absolutely tremendous opportunity
Amalia Brandt Hjerstedt spent one year of her Master’s programme at the Fudan University in Shanghai. To study in China has taught her the advantage of mobility and cultural diversity, which is useful within the Business Development industry in Hong Kong where she works today.
The Department of Political Science has a double degree co-operation with School of International Relations and Public Affairs (SIRPA) at Fudan University in Shanghai, China. What made you apply?
I’ve always been curious about cultural exchange and to discover new countries and languages. I therefore thought this was a great opportunity to explore China and its political environment as a student of international relations, especially with China’s rise as a global economic and military great power. Additionally, to study in a dynamic and exhilarating place as Shanghai was a rare and absolutely tremendous opportunity for me.
Overall, to study in China has taught me the great advantage of mobility and cultural diversity. I have met people from all over the world and gained friends for life.
Double degree means you get two degrees when you are done. In your opinion, what are the benefits of that?
A double degree allows you to explore more areas within your master’s degree, as you have the opportunity to study in two different places, gain new knowledge and expose yourself to unfamiliar environments. In other words, you become very diversified, as you gain expertise in not one, but two academic areas. In my case, my studies were focused on the European Union’s enlargement as well as Chinese Politics and Diplomacy. These are two completely different themes of international relations. However, the scope of international relations covers many fields that work in coherence with each other, which you can explore and link together through a double degree program.
What was it like to study at SIRPA and in China?
To study in China was a great challenge. The academic system is quite different from what I am used to. SIRPA however provided us with great assistance and information. The department offered many interesting lectures and seminars, bringing together well-respected Professors and Academics from all over the world. Most importantly, students were always highly encouraged to participate, which resulted in many engaging discussions. Overall, to study in China has taught me the great advantage of mobility and cultural diversity. I have met people from all over the world and gained friends for life. Also, you quickly learn that China is very different from what we picture it to be here in Europe, which gives you new perspectives of things.
What do you think about the University and Shanghai?
Shanghai is a very vibrant city that never stops amazing you. One could easily call it a city of great contrast in all aspects. There are futuristic constructions as well as ancient and pre-modern lifestyles existing concurrently. Fudan University has a great campus in the Yangpu district where I was based. The campus provides a very relaxing atmosphere and is in general very green for being in the middle of a busy metropole like Shanghai. A well-managed garden and plenty of good study areas presents a great environment for high level academic work. Their wide range of international students also exposed us to diverse cultures and helped us make friends from all over the world.
Where are you working today?
After graduating from Fudan University I moved back home to Sweden to enjoy the Swedish summer. After some time at home, I am now on my way to relocate to Hong Kong to work as a Research Analyst in the Business Development industry. My aim is to explore more of Asia and hopefully deepen my knowledge in Chinese language.
Do you have more experiences from your time as a student that helped you get to where you are today?
A wide range of subjects taken from my high school days through bachelor’s degree to the master’s level has been greatly beneficial. Additionally, multilingual training coupled with multiple internships that I have completed in diverse areas has been a great complement to my academic studies. This has provided me the necessary skills as well as strengthened my analytical capacity.
Finally, students who are studying right now and might be worried about getting jobs in the future - what are your top tips for them?
They should not worry, but rather use the period of study to acquire multiple skills which are relevant on the job market such as inter-personal skills and tolerance for cultural diversity. Finally, I have always encouraged everyone I know to take advantage of international study environments such as exchange studies or internships to engage in networking. Finally, it’s always important to update your CV on all relevant job recruitment platforms like LinkedIn, etc, on a regular basis.