Innovation, diversity attract talented international students to Duke Kunshan | Duke Kunshan University

Innovation, diversity attract talented international students to Duke Kunshan

July 22, 2019


Rory Harding, Nicholas Kovacich, Charles Colasurdo, Reika Shimomura and Sangwook Jung hang out on campus with fellow early decision admits in April

Charles Colasurdo is a modern-day explorer, Reika Shimomura wants to protect the world against infections disease and Nicholas Kovacich recently received a letter from the Chinese president.

What do they all have in common? They are among the international students who will form part of Duke Kunshan’s outstanding Class of 2023 in the fall.

Colasurdo from Westport, Connecticut, has been studying Mandarin for seven years and has traveled extensively in China and Southeast Asia. A keen photographer, he has had two internships this past year with tour companies in Vietnam and Thailand.

He chose Duke Kunshan for its unparalleled experiential educational opportunities and innovative global outlook, he said, adding that he is looking forward to a transformative experience in a hotbed of global commerce and investment.

“I’m excited about the incredible support available to develop cultural competency and fluency in Mandarin,” said Colasurdo, an early decision applicant. “I believe my unique perspective as an American student living in Asia will eventually help me bridge the gap between U.S. companies seeking to do business in China, and vice versa.”

Following a significant increase in applications, 89 international students have accepted their offer of admission to become part of the undergraduate degree program’s next entering class.

Another seven students have deferred until the fall of 2020 to pursue gap year programs, including the prestigious National Security Language Initiative for Youth sponsored by the U.S. State Department.

Sangwook Jung is an incoming student from South Korea. He said he chose Duke Kunshan because he wants to receive an education from a “globalized institution with flexible course options where I can be exposed to diverse cultures and academics.”

The Class of 2023 will represent 28 countries across six continents, including China, Canada, the United Kingdom, Mexico, Japan, South Korea, India, Italy and Ethiopia. More than 40 percent of the class will come from the United States.

“As with our inaugural class, we’ve again exceeded expectations in terms of the number of exceptionally talented and accomplished international students we’ve attracted this year,” said Jessica Sandberg, dean of enrollment management at Duke Kunshan.

“This new cohort of high achievers comes from across the globe and will be a truly wonderful addition to the dynamic and diverse community we already enjoy on our campus.”


Prospective students enjoy a light show at Dayu Bay as part of the IASE weekend

Last year, the university welcomed students from 27 countries to its inaugural undergraduate degree class.

The latest cohort will arrive for orientation in mid-August, when they will be joined by equally talented students from across the Chinese mainland, Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan. The university plans to admit 225 students from the Chinese mainland and about 10 students from Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan this year.

A large number of the international students made their decision to join Duke Kunshan after taking part in the university’s four-day International Admitted Student Experience weekend in late April. The event gave prospective students the opportunity to experience life on campus, with guided tours, sample classes, group activities, academic panels, and much more.

After seeing the campus for the first time, Rory Hardin of the U.S. said he was struck by the beauty of its many trees and green, natural areas, as well as its central water feature.

“My favorite thing was all the group study rooms in the Academic Building, which really demonstrates to me the commitment Duke Kunshan has to a supportive environment and collaborative learning,” he said.

The university also welcomed 1,136 students from the Chinese mainland over three weekends in March for tours, sample lectures and other activities.

The admissions process for mainland students is completed in July, when students received their scores in the national college entrance exam and begin applying for high education programs. Taiwan, Macao and Hong Kong follow a similar testing schedule.