Area studies as a medium of scholarship is becoming increasingly significant in global affairs and Oxford's ability to offer such an on-the-pulse course, is evidence that SIAS is at the very heart of the study of today's China. It is thus fitting that the new Dickson Poon University of Oxford China Centre Building is equally one of a kind; home not only to a wealth of resource material in the Bodleian KB Chen China Centre Library, but also to state-of-the-art facilities which pay homage to Classical Chinese aesthetics.
The program itself is a truly comprehensive insight into the complexities of today’s China, providing student's with both an in-depth understanding of China's history since the formation of the People's Republic in 1949, as well as offering a diverse range of options courses ranging from Modern Chinese Art to China’s Economic Reforms. For example, I took Diplomatic Language in a Chinese Context, taught by Dr. Biljana Scott. Nowhere else is such a distinct and indeed neoteric course option offered on such a niche yet consequential topic. This, as a microcosm of the wider program content, really speaks volumes about Oxford's ability to tailor erudition around current affairs in the Middle Kingdom.
Another virtue of the program is the teaching. You receive tuition from some of the world's foremost China hands and in many classes such as the International Relations of Contemporary China, you are actually debating topics with professionals who are themselves engaged in the thick of the issues at hand with many of the authors you are reading for class. The result of such instruction is notably simulating lectures combining insightful anecdotes with rigorous debates.
The Research Methods training is also world-class, providing students with the necessary qualitative and quantitative skills essential for undertaking further research whether it be in an academic or a professional setting.
I wholeheartedly recommend the program and echo much of what is said by my peers and fellow alumni. It has certainly enabled me to further my journey as a Sinophile and apply much of what I have gained from the program to both my personal and professional endeavours.I look forward to taking up my position on the Civil Service Fast Stream in the coming months. I am very excited to apply the skills I've gained from the program in policy work for the United Kingdom.