Saturday, April 03, 2010

Chinese Post Graduate Interviews

Several seniors have come to the Tree House to ask for advice about their post graduate interview. They passed the written portion of the post graduate exam and now just have to pass the oral interview.

As an American, when I hear the word interview, the image that comes to mind is one person asking a lot of questions and the other person answering trying to impress the other and sell themselves.

In China, I am not sure what a post graduate interview is.

The students also do not know.

Student: Can you help me write my introduction?

Me: How long does it have to be?

Student: Don't know 10 minutes?

Me: How long is the interview?

Student: Maybe 20-30 minutes?

Me: What do you want to tell the interviewers?

Students: My background, age, name, why I want to go to graduate school. I am a hard worker and a good student.

Me: Is it a speech? Will the interviewer interrupt you?

Students: No. I don't think so. I think they will ask questions after my introduction.

Me: What kind of questions?

Students: I don't know but I am really nervous that they will ask me general knowledge questions that I don't know the answer to.

I am not the right person to be giving the students advice about a post graduate interview that neither of us have any experience with.

Reading their introduction speeches makes me think about an English speech competition. Whoever does the best 10 minute speech, will win. Most of the speeches are exactly the same, flowery words saying nothing specific, general adjectives that can describe every student I know. "I am a diligent, hard-working, dedicated girl who has perseverance. I want to further my education to better myself and gain knowledge."

The winners of speech competitions are the ones who catch the judges ears by their presentation skills plus their English pronunciation and fluency abilities not by what they are actually saying especially since most of them are saying the same thing.

I wonder is that how they pick the post graduate candidates, presentation and English skills rather than the content of their introduction speech?


Katie said...

I've been invited to Peace Corps China, leaving June 2010. I am also Asian American and adopted, although racially Korean. I love this post. I look forward to meeting you sometime this year.

Dr. Jen said...

Welcome to China.... if you have any questions feel free to ask. Since I am staying for a third year with PC China,we might actually run into each other, never know. Enjoy your last few months at home.

Dr. Jen said...

According to a PCV at a different university, based on information his students have given him he believes that the introduction speeches are only supposed to be 2-3 minutes. Then there will be three major questions: 1. Why do you want to do post-graduate work? 2. Why do you want to attend this university? 3. Why are you a good candidate for post graduate studies?