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International Affairs

Students from Shanghai Jiao Tong University at l'X

On the second week of July, 39 students from SPEIT came to Paris to learn about France, the French higher education and research system and more specifically about l'X, where they were accommodated, as well as Mines ParisTech, ENSTA ParisTech and Telecom ParisTech.

Shanghai Jiao Tong University-ParisTech Elite Institute of Technology (SPEIT), founded by École Polytechnique, ENSTA ParisTech, MINES ParisTech and Télécom ParisTech, provides excellent education based on the French engineering Grandes Écoles model: a 6-year program, that integrates both the Classe préparatoire and École d’ingénieur programs. During the third year of the program, students from SPEIT can apply to the partner instutions in France. In July, 39 students from SPEIT therefore came to France to learn more about the French higher education and research system and visit the campuses of the four partner institutions. Two of them, Justine Zhang and Yujiong Chen, told us more about their week in the Paris region.

©Jérémy Barande/École Polytechnique

"École Polytechnique has such a green and agreeable campus!" Yujiong Chen immediately said. The student is very enthusiastic about l'X, where he was accommodated with his classmates for a week. Yujiong, originally from Shanghai, was already familiar with Paris, that he visited a few years back, and he knew a lot about the French higher education since he was in an international high school and considered going to a preparatory class in France before finding out about SPEIT. He still thinks that this trip helped him learn more about the four French Grandes Écoles to which he can apply next year - École Polytechnique, ENSTA ParisTech, MINES ParisTech and Télécom ParisTech: "I now better understand the strengths of each institution and the difference between them and I think that it will help all of us to choose our specialization".

For example, Yujiong thought that l'X was focused more on mechanics than energy, but he realized during his visit that École Polytechnique is truly a pluridisciplinary institution and that its Research Center hosts laboratories on very different scientific topics. The students thus visited the Institut Pierre Simon Laplace Atmospheric Research Observatory (SIRTA), based at École Polytechnique and on which several scientists from the Dynamic Meteorology Laboratory work, and heard about the work on photovoltaics done at l'X. Yujiong also appreciated the fact that l'X and l'ENSTA ParisTech are at the heart of Paris-Saclay, a major scientific and economic cluster: the students thus spent an afternoon visiting the labs of Thales nearby.

For Justine on the other hand, this was her first time in France and this trip really helped her better understand the prospects for her future studies and career. "I chose ParisTech Shanghai Jiao Tong because I wanted to become an engineer and I was eager to learn French, but I did not know exactly what to expect. Of course, Shanghai JiaoTong University is really well-known in China, so I knew that my studies would be well recognized, but I didn't know much about the French partner institutions. I now realize that École Polytechnique, the leading institute for science and technology in France, opens many opportunities: I really hope that I will get in!" Justine is particularly interested in studying mechanics to do a career in the car industry. "In Shanghai, we have had the chance to visit several car companies through SPEIT - PSA Peugeot Citroën, Faurecia and Valeo, and I consider working on new technologies in this field."

Both Justine and Yujiong were also impressed by the many sports' infrastructures and were surprised to learn that Ingénieur Polytechnicien students do 6 hours of sports per week. They feel that this contributes to increasing the team spirit and the exchanges between students. "We can tell that there is a great atmosphere at École Polytechnique!" One of their favorite moments of the week was thus when they had a barbecue with several students from l'X, including many international and Chinese students, as well as Yves Demay, Director-General and Joaquim Nassar, Dean of Studies. After visiting the 4 French Grandes Écoles, but also the Versailles Castle, the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre, the Chinese students are spending two other weeks in France, enjoying the French Riviera and Nice while improving their level of French, already very impressive.