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roddy

Beijing University of Chinese Medicine

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roddy

This topic is for discussion and reviews of Beijing University of Chinese Medicine. Accommodation, courses, on-campus facilities and activities - anything to do with Beijing University of Chinese Medicine goes in here. If there's a lot of discussion about any one particular topic we might split it into a new thread and leave a link here.

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Loretta_bella

Dear All,

Hi!

I browsed around the forum and saw some posts (dated back from 2010 and 2011) related to TCM, and people studying it in Shanghai, though I’d be very interested to hear, if you’d like to share – what has your experience been like with Beijing University of Traditional Chinese Medicine. I’m interested in its 5 year curriculum in English, and what the quality is like, the environment, accommodation – anything you might want to share :) If you have had direct experience of studying there, that would be awesome

Thankyou

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Zach_BUCM

I am currently a student at Beijing University of Chinese Medicine in the 5 year Chinese Medicine program in English and I just finished my first year so I am not sure how much help I can offer you but i can tell you about my experience so far. When first coming to this school the one that myself and all my classmates came to realize is that you are truly one your own. The staff that runs the school are really not that helpful, especially if you don't speak Chinese because they rarely speak English. They leave you to figure out the tuition pay, visa, dorm, and every other arrangement on your own. Out of my class of 15 students only four of them were able to get into the dorms and the rest of us had to find our own place to live which is a challenge in itself.

But once school finally started I came to really like the school. The teachers are all really nice and very accommodating to the students situation. The teachers that they bring in all all well versed in their respected study and very knowledgeable. We had two professors come all the way from Iran just to teach the foreign students, and the other medical teachers are all current practicing TCM doctors so they are able to answer any question using both their knowledge and clinical experience. My one complaint is that the way that they scheduled that classes were a little weird. We were learning about the fundamental theories of TCM and the clinical diagnosis at the same time.

Overall like I said once you get used to it the school is a good place the learn and meet a whole group of people that have the same interest as you and struggle together day in and day out. And through these struggles that we have all faced as foreign student at this school we have all really come together to form a kind of family. I hope I could help you understand the school better and give you an idea of what kind of situation that you will be getting into because no one told any of us.

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Taina

Thanks Zach_BUCM for this info!

I have applied for a scholarship to BUCM for the next year and it's been very difficult to find anyone to tell their experiences on the subject. Good to know that the level of teaching is excellent, I think that's the most important thing anyways.

Are you studying with a scholarship or self funded?

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Loretta_bella

Hi Zach, and thanks so much for your reply and for sharing your experience (which is the most valuable thing in one’s answer)

Congratulations on finishing your first year there! :)

I completely understand what you mean when you point out that sorting these things out (visa, accommodation, fees) are a separate, perhaps very stressful, issue.

After all, you are living in a foreign country as a student, and you have to rely on other people to provide some sort of aid with life’s practical matters, and help you with your studies.

Administration seems to be a very important factor because it shapes a person’s environment in one way or the other – and of course the way classes are scheduled makes an impact in how well you learn.

It’s great that you managed to forge friendships with other people and form a kind of family! Thank you for taking your time to share pros and cons of your study experience thus far – it helped me a lot, and I hope it will help others, too

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azeem

Hi, I am also considering studying at BUCM. I do not live in China, I will be applying from South Africa. I am curious about a few things.

First, the visa process for studying in China. Would I need criminal background checks or medical checks?

The entrance exam? What are they testing for? Do I need to understand Mandarin?

Would it be recommended to use an agent to help with the application process, or apply directly to the university.

I would also appreciate any other information that you think is important.

Thanks ^^

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Miriamiris

Hello everyone!

 

This is Miriam writing to you all, I thought I'd bring this topic back to life ;-)

 

I am 31, from Germany but currently living and working and London. I am planning to start studying TCM at Beijing University in February 2016. I am already in touch with the university, reading through guidebooks, saving money and learning Chinese. Similar to what many of us are going through I reckon ;-)

 

I would pursue the 5 years Bachelor course in English and aim to switch to classes taught in Chinese after 2 years or so. 

 

I would be very very interested in hearing from people currently or formerly enrolled at BU CM, either in classes taught in Chinese or in English.

 

If this is you, please reply! ;-)

I'll certainly report back, too, once I started studying :)

 

All the best from London and thank you so much in advance,

Miriam

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shuoshuo

Hi Miriamiris, I would like to send you a private message...looks like you need to post some more though. Please PM me. Tnx.

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gwr71

Dear Bigtop,

I have read your rant on the University from which you have just graduated.  You are not the first person to criticize a non-english degree in a communist country.  I have heard of students from the Caribbean after finishing medical school rant and rave about Cuba schools. They seem to have almost the same attitude like you, some were justified others were really ungrateful to Cuba for giving them that scholarship to become doctors.  They so criticized Cuba that the Cuban Government took notice.  Most felt that as they were leaving Cuba for civilization with their degrees properly translated into English they would never return.  Bad decision.  Most then realize the mistake they made. When they went into practice in the Caribbean, many of them were treated as inferior to other new doctors.  Some were actually inferior, while others were superior to other doctors in the Caribbean.  I know My wife is one of the superior ones.  What I realized is that you are what you make of yourself. Even if the school is not up to the standards that you expected it is up to you to go further and train yourself. Medical schools teach you the basics, what you do from now depends on you as an individual.  

 

In the end many of them regretted bad talking the Cuban system as they found out the hard way that the money made in medicine was from specialization and not general medicine.  Some tried to return to Cuba but to better schools in Havana but the Government took notice and they were denied the right to specialize.  You made a point of training on your own.  

Consider this, you just finished your degree in Chinese in TCM.  Good.  You are able to registered a s a doctor of TCM.  another good.  You can now train your self either at home or at a new and better school to improve. even better.  You can now specialize. great.  Ranting and raving as you are clearly doing is not good.  You don't know the future if you would be given the opportunity to specialise at a top school in China. So please tone down your ranting and raving and be polite.

Look at the bright side you graduated.

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Zbigniew
2 hours ago, bigtops said:

 

In a few sentences, here is my review:

It sounds awful. Can you give us some examples to illustrate the low standard of teaching, and tell us what you do get taught? Apparently not much.

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gwr71

The upside to his ranting is this, it will backfire on him. If the degree is not up to standard then his degree is worthless.  He might as well tear up the degree right now.  He has made his position very difficult because anyone trying to employ him will think he is inferior and not hire him or go to him. People like him who are ungrateful for their education whether scholarship or not will lose out in the end. I have seen it before and he will not be the last to do so in these forums.  persons should think before they make such a public statement. Why didn't he drop out before graduating? UNGRATEFUL STUDENT.

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bigtops

@Zbigniew:

 

As it is late at night here, I'll offer one anecdote. I'll try and return another time to write more:

 

About two years ago in the lobby of the International College of Beijing University of Chinese Medicine I ran into a middle-aged Thai woman of Chinese descent who'd come to the university with a deep passion for medicine. Her grandfather had been a TCM doctor and, now that she was old enough to afford to take a few years off of work, she'd decided to devote her mid-forties to learning TCM. Admirable, no?

 

On that day she recognized that I was an upperclassman and wanted my opinions about the school, as she was now entering into the second semester of her first year, and starting to realize that things were not as promised. Number one among her concerns was: exactly how much hands-on acupuncture instruction do students at BUCM receive?

 

At that time, I was in my 4th and final year of classroom-based studies. In one more semester I would be an "intern" in the hospital. Acupuncture was my field of study. I gave her my honest answer: "I have received, probably, about 5 hours of practical instruction. But that might be too generous. It might not quite be 5 hours."

 

Think of that again. A 4th year med student whose field is acupuncture, having only gotten 5 hours of hands-on instruction. At most. Already that is a massive problem. BUCM is not training students how to do the most basic tasks that will be asked of them as acupuncturists. They are dropping the ball. But there is something worse, which her reply illustrates perfectly: "what do you mean 5 hours? That can't possibly be true! When I came her so-and-so laoshi told me that we would be getting 500 hours of hands-on training! She even showed me a print-out that explained how much time in the curriculum would be spent on this! She said 500 hours!"

 

The woman I am describing was, rightfully, very upset. She chose to leave her successful business career in Thailand on the basis of the lies that are told by the 招生 (recruitment) staff at BUCM day in and day out. The actual ratio of lie to truth in terms of hands on training is 100:1. This ratio is, suffice to say, egregious. She could hardly believe me, but she could see that I was sincere, and she had already seen enough of the university to be able to tell that things were not as they should be. I told her not to take my word for it, but to ask other upperclassmen before deciding whether or not to drop out. I never saw her again over the next two years, so I presume she did withdraw, which would make her one of the lucky ones.

 

One of the sad things about the fraud that BUCM and other Chinese TCM universities (I attended Shanghai University of TCM/上海中医药大学 for two years before transferring to BUCM... the quality of its instruction was significantly worse than BUCM's, but their administration is infinitely more reliable and pleasant to deal with) are perpetrating is that it doesn't just affect unlucky students. It also affects patients all over the world. As I have described, what I would guess is around 60% of foreign students do graduate. They then go back to their home countries and often become TCM doctors and acupuncturists (very many also choose to leave the profession after graduation). BUCM prints up all manner of certifications which declare, incorrectly, that graduates received hundreds of hours of hands-on acupuncture training as well as ~1,500 hour hospital internships. They simply did not. These documents are then certified by a Chinese government-run notary firm called "China Academic Degrees & Graduate Education Information" (http://www.cdgdc.edu.cn/) and then, in the US, by companies like World Education Services, despite the fact that the information they contain is fraudulent. Once one has been thusly certified, one can then sit for the exams of the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine as well as the California Oriental medicine board exams. On the basis of these documents there are likely hundreds of graduates of TCM universities in China operating in the US, even though they received little or no actual clinical training. Luckily it is actually very hard to injure or kill somebody with acupuncture needles, as long as you aren't a total idiot; unluckily, it is hard or impossible to do good medicine if one hasn't been trained.

 

That is just one small aspect of the endless litany of problems at BUCM/北中医. I you want to know more, I am happy to provide more info. If it starts to sound like I'm narrating a Franz Kafka-Joseph Heller collabo novel set in the PRC, that's because that's what life there is like.

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abcdefg

What a disappointing experience! I can understand your anger and pain.

 

What will you do now that you have graduated? Have you had any thoughts about how you might turn this big batch of lemons into lemonade, figuratively speaking?

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edelweis

 @bigtops : so you have experienced Beijing and Shanghai schools and found both of them to be terrible.

Is there any school that you have heard good things about ?

 

Found an old post by @rezaf where he comments that a very high level of Chinese (including Classical Chinese) is necessary and also:

On 3/27/2011 at 4:53 PM, rezaf said:

I'm doing my Bachelor's degree at Shanghai University of TCM [...]

Regarding the quality of education in China, I should say I have seen students from Nanjing and Beijing TCM universities too and so far I haven't seen a single person(Chinese or foreigner) who is satisfied with the quality of teaching in China.

[...] some students find 老中医s outside the school and give them something between 10000 to 50000 RMBs to study with them.

 

Edit:

Have you also heard about students getting an external internship and paying such amounts of money for it?

(could it be possible that the university teachers are deliberately providing subpar education in order to get money through unofficial channels????)

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bigtops

@abcdefg:

 

Thanks for your commiseration! Again, I don't want to make this thread be about me, but in short: I have decided to neither pursue a TCM doctor's license in the PRC nor in the US. I don't want to live/work in the PRC any more, and I don't want to take part in an exhausting fraud in order to get an NCCAOM license in the US. That said, I do not look down upon other "victims" of Chinese TCM universities who do go ahead and get their NCCAOM licenses, because there is always the chance that after doing so they will find other ways to supplement their educations and become good physicians. Personally, since I narrowed my focus to tuina, acupressure, and other forms of bodywork while I was still in the university--and spent thousands of dollars outside of school trying to find ways to learn technique and develop skill--I walked away with the ability to have a career that does not rely upon me having a license to needle or prescribe herbs.

 

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bigtops

@edelweis:

 

6 hours ago, edelweis said:

Is there any school that you have heard good things about ?

 

In the PRC? No. They are all substantively the same, because the TCM curriculum follows a nationwide standard. A centralized, authoritarian-aiming-at-totalitarian political system results in universities that look more alike than dissimilar. There are of course some local cultural differences between the TCM universities in different provinces (i.e., the Guangdong school apparently benefits from the fact the locals in that province are very keen on using Chinese medicine as a first line of defense against illnesses; the Chengdu supposedly is/was somewhat more focused on "the classics" than some other schools; the Zhejiang school is small and laid back, though you won't learn much there; the Shanghai school has a fairly pleasant administration, but it also employs teachers who don't have any clinical experience; the Beijing school requires its profs to have a masters degree or higher and be clinicians, but its administration acts like a bunch of Zhongnanhai &%^#$s), but all in all, the word is 大同小异--"big same small difference," if you will.

 

Regarding Reza's post, exactly. I know Reza from my time in Shanghai. He's one of many foreign students I met who was extremely dedicated and made huge sacrifices in order to chase his passion, only to be stymied at every turn due to the ineptitude, laziness, dishonesty, and backwardness that plagues PRC education.

 

6 hours ago, edelweis said:

Have you also heard about students getting an external internship and paying such amounts of money for it?

 

Yes. Some "masters" even charge well over 50,000 yuan. The sad thing is that even in such circumstances there is no guarantee whatsoever that one will learn anything. However, obstacles to learning TCM outside of the university aren't really germane to this topic, so I won't digress into that discussion here.

 

6 hours ago, edelweis said:

 

(could it be possible that the university teachers are deliberately providing subpar education in order to get money through unofficial channels????)

 

I don't think so. There is not really a nefarious plan at work here. The vast majority of the university teachers simply don't understand pedagogy, don't really care (they are under zero pressure to do anything but make sure that most students can pass the tests), and they are often too busy to devote themselves to things like lesson planning. The type of money Reza was talking about rarely finds its way into TCM university teachers' pockets. It goes to doctors outside of the university system who set themselves up on the traveling seminar circuit and/or establish master-apprentice relationships.

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edelweis

Thanks for the details. It's rather disappointing to hear that all unis have basically the same issues.

 

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gwr71

The position of Cuban medical schools outside of Havana are almost the same as you describe.  Some students don't go the extra mile and do more practicals as a result when they graduate they feel not up to standard as other graduates.  It is like a factory producing almost the identical in each graduate. This was recognized by the Cuban Government which made a mandatory change for specialization that require each person to have at least 2 years of practical experience  before eligible to specialize.  Those who didn't have the 2 years had to do it in the provinces in Cuba before entering their specialization.

 

In your case there may be a problem which need to be addressed but honestly as you know nothing will be solved by what you are doing here.  like you, many persons don't have that kind of funds to enroll in the best schools of TCM, and will have little or no choice but to follow the program under the PRC.  The solutions may be as follows:

a. get the syllabus and booklist from the better schools and compare them. Buy them as a further investment and go over each area with a fine tooth comb and learn from what you didn't know.

b. enter into an apprenticeship with a TCM Practitioner in the US or China and learn all the practicals from there.

c. Apply for scholarship to specialize at those better schools.  You have worked too hard and invested too much to throw everything away.

 

In respect to the advise to other potential students, the most you should do is to point out the problems of the programs in PRC but don't use such words as fraudulent etc.. These persons may still make a decision to go to that school but will be better prepared from your advise. They may demand more hours of practicals as per the advertisements etc.. and requirements.

 

In the end constructive criticism is what is needed not ranting and raving.

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