Huang Qiu’s Journey; An International Student’s Perspective on the University of Maryland Experience

Huang Qiu PhotoHuang Qiu, a Ph.D. student attached to Dr. Michael Doyle’s research group in the department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, is the first student to come to the Chemistry and Biochemistry department through a joint Ph.D. program in cooperation with the East China Normal University in Shanghai, China. This six year program, when successfully completed, will result in Mr. Qiu having earned a Ph.D. from both institutions, as well as valuable personal and professional experience spanning two dynamic cultures.

“I wanted to come to the U.S. to learn,” says Mr. Qiu. “The U.S. has stronger academics and I wanted to go abroad for a different experience [than what I knew] in China.”

Mr. Qiu is ten months into his three year commitment to his education and research. Once he is finished in the US, he will go back to China to complete the education requirements there. His ultimate education and career goal is to be a researcher because he loves the idea of discovering something no one else has discovered.  “He has already done this in his research at Maryland,” says his research advisor, Mike Doyle. “In one of his projects he has converted an ester to a diketone, and we are trying to find out how this has occurred.”  His research here is focused on gold catalyzed reactions, and he is nearing the final stages for the publication of two manuscripts.

“I want to find new tools for the chemistry tool box that anyone can use,” says Mr. Qiu.

As excited as he is about his research, there are other challenges he finds just as exciting, surprising and sometimes difficult. Also, he is fascinated and surprised by how independent American students are.

“It is much more difficult than I thought. In China, a student lives in the dorm and eats at the [campus] restaurants or cafeterias. But here, I have had to learn to cook, to clean, and to take care of myself.” says Mr. Qiu.

He also is finding time for more social activities. He loves to play basketball with his friends, though the amount of open space in which to play was surprising to him.

“We do not have this much open space in China.”

With all of the challenges of his program, the language, the work, the daily tasks, Mr. Qiu says everyone he has met has been very helpful.

“I get a lot of help. I can always ask people in the department and they are very supportive.”

When asked what advice he has for any other student thinking of leaving their home country for an education at the University of Maryland, he offers this:

“Language is very important, so prepare your English. Always communicate and be open with your group members. Make many friends. It’s very important if you come here alone. If you make friends, your life is very colorful.”