When 33 PhD students from China’s Nanjing Agricultural University enrolled in the UW Advance program, they knew they’d get to discuss exciting ideas with faculty, researchers, and graduate students at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. This was their first taste of the Wisconsin Idea, the notion that the university’s knowledge should extend beyond the classroom, benefiting people around the world.
UW Advance is a customizable program for international college students eager to experience life and learning at an American university. It includes English instruction, specialized lectures and seminars, cultural activities, field trips, and other opportunities to get acquainted with UW–Madison. The experience typically lasts about four weeks, and students return home with skills they can use in their studies and their careers.
Participants like microbiology student Zhepu Ruan came away with ideas about how to enhance their scholarly work and solve important problems. Ruan appreciated the program’s opportunities to interact with researchers.
“I made friends, learned new things, and met researchers and graduate students in soil science and plant science. We exchanged ideas and discussed CRISPR-Cas9, a technology for editing the genome. This led to ideas for my own research, and now I hope to do a postdoctoral program at UW–Madison,” she explains.