From 8 to 14 July, the first Summer School of “Belt and Road” University Alliance for Food Science and Education was launched in School of Food Science and Technology, Jiangnan University. The event attracted 39 international students from 20 universities of 13 countries such as The University of Chicago (USA), Massey University (New Zealand), Kangwon National University (Korea), and Chulalongkorn University (Thailand). These students actively participated in various school activities including the course learning, academic seminar, camp tour, practical training on frozen desserts and cultural experience. They not only fully experienced the development of food science and culture but also deeply understood the charm of traditional Chinese food culture.
Grand ceremony: careful preparation and successful opening
The opening ceremony was hosted by Yuanfa Liu, Dean of the School of Food Science and Technology. Yuebo Dai, Deputy Secretary of Party Committee of Jiangnan University expressed warm welcome to teachers and students from Chinese and foreign universities, then gave a brief introduction to Jiangnan University and revealed his expectations for students. Honorary Prof. Charles Shoemaker from University of California, Davis and Dr. Richard Love from Massey University made their speeches as representatives of foreign teachers, saying that revisiting Jiangnan University felt like “meeting an old friend again”. They also hoped that international students could learn more, communicate more and digest more to appreciate the charm of both food and knowledge. Yunfei Xie, Deputy Dean of the School of Food Science and Technology made a basic introduction of the School of Food Science and Technology as well as the vision and arrangement of the summer school. The aim was to enable students from universities in “Belt and Road” countries to have better knowledge of Jiangnan University and arouse their passion for Chinese food and culture through the platform of the “Belt and road” summer school. The event was also a positive response to the “Belt and Road” Initiative based on the international influence of food science in Jiangnan University.
Icebreaking game: enlivening atmosphere and deepening understanding
The icebreaking game first started to bring teachers and students to better know each other and enliven the atmosphere. Every student actively took part in the self-introduction which was limited to three sentences, stating their universities and majors and using one simple word to summarize their characteristics, for example, friendly, easygoing, crazy, automatic, and single. The self-introduction with time limit put their ability of English expression and summarization to test. Besides, it helped students to know each other faster and keep their spirits up. Then, the students were divided into seven groups to play “Draw Something”. The first student of each group made a drawing based on a randomly chosen expression within 15 seconds and quickly showed the drawing to the next student who in turn handed over the drawing to the next student and so on. The last student tried to guess the expression with the drawing. Soon everyone in the room burst into laughter again and again and friendship was established during good cooperation.
Academic courses: food science and culture
The summer school set up five academic courses, including History of Food in Human History, Food Processing, Brewing-Science of Brewing, Harmony on Shape, Name and Culture of Chinese Traditional Food, Chinese Characteristic Diet, lectured by Prof. Charles F Shoemaker from University of California, Davis, USA, Prof. Keshavan Niranjan from University of Reading, UK, Dr. Richard Love from Massey University, New Zealand, Prof. Wu Wang, former deputy president of Jiangnan University and Prof. Fang Zhong from the School of Food Science and Technology of Jiangnan University, respectively. In the classroom, senior professors in food science, whether Chinese or foreign, taught lessons in English. They introduced thermal food processing technology, simple process and mechanism of food fermentation, food culture in human history, traditional Chinese diet and relevant culture. When it came to interaction, professors and students carried out heated discussions as cultural clashes resulted into collisions of views.
Practical training on frozen desserts: cultivating innovative awareness and developing practical ability
The innovation training in food science is an important approach of higher education institutions and companies in their cooperative efforts to foster innovative talents. The training is also of great significance to cultivate the innovative awareness and creative thinking of students and develop their practical and teamwork abilities. During the summer school period, the International College Students Innovative Competition of “Belt and Road” University Alliance for Food Science and Education—2019 CAPIGIANI Gelato-Baking Competition was held. The students had the chance not only to receive the theoretical training given by professional gelato and baking masters but also to get training of baking and ice-cream making alternatively. Furthermore, 7 teams formed by 14 students from the summer school passed the preliminary contest to enter the finals, rivaling against 13 other Chinese teams. The students brought their imagination and creativity into full play to produce gelatos and cross-border baking products in various tastes, which contained unlimited market potential.
Cultural experience: experiencing intangible cultural heritage to understand traditional Chinese culture
In order to personally feel the long history of traditional fermented Chinese food, appreciate the intangible cultural heritage of making Hengshun vinegar, and experience the vinegar culture, the students in the first summer school of “Belt and Road” University Alliance for Food Science and Education visited Zhenjiang Vinegar Culture Museum for a cultural investigation. They carefully learned about the vinegar culture in China, including the meaning the character “醋”(vinegar), the hand brewing technology of Zhenjiang vinegar, the equipment used to make vinegar across different historical periods and its evolvement, the historical allusions about vinegar and so on. Besides, they went to look around the modern workshops of Hengshun Vinegar Group in Zhejiang and saw its scale production processes, automatic can packaging lines and automatic 3D warehouse management system. In this way, they had a comprehensive experience, interpretation and taste of the vinegar culture.
The one-week summer school was successfully concluded. In the graduation ceremony, Prof. Yuanfa Liu, Dean of the School of Food Science and Technology stated the objectives of the summer school was to provide excellent students around the globe a platform to learn new knowledge and exchange new ideas together, to enhance the understanding between teachers and students both at home and abroad, to trigger innovative thoughts in science and technology and to explore new approaches for international exchange and cooperation. He hoped that students felt grateful to their own universities for granting the opportunity to attend this summer school because everyone were much benefitted from it. He also hoped that everyone could personally experience China, make researches about China, tell good stories about China and become China’s friends. Then the representatives awarded the students with diplomas.
In recent years, in firm response to China’s Belt and Road Initiative, Jiangnan University and its School of Food Science and Technology founded the “Belt and Road” University Alliance for Food Science and Education by signing the Taihu Lake Declaration with 49 universities (38 from abroad) in 27 countries. The alliance intends to build up a platform for young students from different cultural backgrounds to learn new knowledge and exchange new ideas together. We hope to promote cooperation in talent cultivation, scientific research and cultural exchange between alliance members through this platform and enhance the global reputation of Jiangnan University and its food science in an all-round manner.
Words from students: thanks to Jiangnan University for the fruitful summer
Hannah Gloria Hady (New Zealand)
I came to attend this summer school of Jiangnan University with a strong curiosity about China. I have benefitted a lot from the courses, practical training of making ice cream and baking as well as cultural experience activity of the program. I am very glad to have the opportunity to take part in the program.
Ahmad Fatkul Niam (Indonesia)
Bogor Agricultural University
I am very pleased to be selected by Bogor Agricultural University, Indonesia to get the opportunity to attend the summer school. Through my study at the summer school, I have discovered the charm of traditional Chinese food and culture, further understood relevant knowledge about food science and technology. Besides, practical operation that wonderfully combines theory and practice has inspired my enthusiasm for learning and greatly impressed me.
Culture experience: Zhenjiang Vinegar Culture Museum