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CESL Alumni Interview: YANG Guodong

YANG Guodong, a CESL graduate of 2014. Mr. Yang entered CESL in 2011 and graduated in 2014 where he obtained his double master degrees, one in Civil and Commercial Law conferred by China University of Political Science and Law (CUPL) and one in European and International Law granted by University of Hamburg (UHH). Then Mr. Yang furthered his education at UHH and received his doctorate in September 2017. Mr. Yang is currently a lecturer at Southwest University of Political Science and Law (SWUPL). In this article, Mr. Yang will share his work experience with us.

Q1: As we know, you are currently a lecturer at SWUPL, so why did you choose to be a teacher in law?

A1: Personally speaking, I like reading and prefer a free lifestyle so regard teaching and educating as the ideal scenario.

Q2: As a teacher, what kind of learning requirements do you set for your students, or what kind of suggestions would you like to offer to them?

A2: I encourage students to read and think more–especially question more and never have blind faith in authority. Don’t feel that your point of view is not worth mentioning, in many cases, you may be the child who pointed out that the emperor wore no clothes at all while the crowds cried “what a suit!” However, the premise is that you have to undertake adequate material research, reading, thinking and analysis to support your opinions.

Q3: May I ask what impressed you most or what was the biggest reward you have ever received in your work? Have you ever encountered difficulties or challenges? When applied the knowledge you’ve learned at school? Or from your perspective, what do we have to prepare and accumulate during school?

A3: For the first question, I do have a particularly strong feeling about the fact that students can be aware when teachers have or haven’t done teaching preparation– it’s not difficult to notice. For teachers, the papers they write may not be considered in any way except for the purpose of title evaluating. However, their preparation and energy input may leave a long-lasting impression on their students. And as for the difficulties and challenges, sometimes, I find it difficult to give satisfactory answers to students due to a lack of sufficient knowledge. The knowledge learned at school is definitely helpful. I encourage the students to read more and have more communication with their classmates; such communication and interaction should not be based on trying to overwhelm or persuade the counterpart in their values, but with open minds and with the purpose of discovering the truth.

Q4: Can you offer some suggestions for career-planning?

A4: In my point of view, I encourage you to create connections in different types of jobs, do internships there and then to determine which type of work is suitable for you. Never assume that you will necessarily engage in a job or will do that job for a very long time, as such situations may become less likely in the future. Thus, you should try to spend more time improving the abilities important for job-hunting no matter what kinds of job you are searching for. For example, cultivating and improving the ability to express oneself ability.

Q5: How did you go about your career-planning at the time of graduating?

A5: By the process of elimination. Not too many people become interested in teaching. Personally speaking, I would not prefer to live in first-tier cities, nor would I want to follow the so-called “postdoctoral teaching” or “up or out” path. Excluding these options, I found myself left with not too many choices. I suppose this experience may not be very informative for most students.

Q6: What factors or elements should we refer to for career-planning when we graduate?

A5: I think, in fact, it is a balance thing; evaluate the various factors you like or dislike, then reach a trade-off. Specifically, you may have to consider the following factors, such as geographic convenience, transportation, convenience, career development and promotion opportunities, family, physical heath and climate conditions. Of course, you must find out the weight of such factors, to figure out whether they will truly affect your career choice. After assessing all these factors and the influences they may bear, then you make up your mind.

Q6: Could you give us more suggestions?

A6: For students who are still studying at college, I would suggest them to 1) keep an open mind; 2) have more imagination about the possibilities for life; 3) keep engaged in regular and moderate exercise–pay attention to your physical health.

Interviewed by SHI Qian (CESL Double Master of 2018)

Photo provided by YANG Guodong (CESL Double Master of 2011)

Translated by HE Lei (CESL Double Master of 2018)