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Singapore University Cooperated with China University

Universities in Singapore, an academic hotbed in Southeast Asia, are increasing cooperationwith China, a move that insiders say reflects the global shift to the rising economic power.
Singapore Management University, or SMU for short, one of six colleges in the city-state,signed 13 agreements on academic cooperation and exchange with five Chinese partners inApril, including Tsinghua University in Beijing and Fudan University in Shanghai.
"We've seen that China, as a rising economic power, has attracted worldwide attention," saidArnoud De Meyer, president of SMU. "I feel obligated to provide more opportunities for ourstudents to interact with students in China. They're going to work together after graduation."
In the agreement with Tsinghua, SMU and the Chinese college's economic and managementschool will exchange five to 10 students each year. Faculties from both sides will also worktogether to research and solve pragmatic problems.
SMU, which has about 8,000 students, was established only in 2000 but has already built agood international reputation for research, teaching and the quality of its graduates.
To reach further goals, De Meyer is adamant that students must be offered internationalopportunities.
As many as 84 percent of SMU's graduates in 2013 have overseas experience, either throughstudent-exchange programs or internships.
"We want them to learn about overseas markets through staying abroad," De Meyer said,adding that the same goes for faculty cooperation.
Amy Wan, a 28-year-old Singaporean, works as front office manager at the Hilton Hotel inKunshan, Jiangsu province. She first gained an understanding about Chinese culture, economyand business environment from a China Business Study Mission at SMU, which culminated in atwo-week field trip to the Pearl River Delta region in 2007 to visit local and internationalcompanies. The following year she took part in a three-month internship in Shanghai.
"The immersion program made me more exposed to China," Wan said. "Having opportunities asa student to understand China helped to pave the way to being open to working and livinghere."
According to De Meyer, SMU hosts about 700 exchange students a year from all over theworld, while 15 percent of its undergraduates are from overseas.
Chinese students generally account for a large proportion of international students inSingapore.
Pang Yang Hoong, vice-provost in charge of undergraduate study at SMU, said the majority ofits international students are from China, and she encouraged more young Chinese to studythere.
"We've seen many of our students chose study-abroad programs in the United States andEurope in the past," she said. "Many had been to China as tourists, but spent less timestudying or working here.
"I hope the agreements we signed this time will allow more of our students to be able to study inChina."
Pang added that tourists only scratch the surface of the country, but exchange students havemore opportunities to interact with locals to enrich their vision and become globalized.
Singapore, as a mature and small country, can provide management experience to Chineseprovincial officials, and universities may be the best place to do it, suggested Annie Koh, vice-president of SMU. The college has previously provided short-term training to governmentemployees in Sichuan province.
"Singapore is not a big country," she said. "Our management experience may be suitable forprovinces."
Xu Liping, deputy director of China's Center for South Asian Studies, said he believed thestrengthening of Sino-Singaporean ties through universities is a growing trend.
"Singaporean universities want to cooperate with China, catching a ride on its economicgrowth," Xu said.