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Ridging Traditions: A Young Taiwanese Student Explores TCM in Beijing

LifestyleRidging Traditions: A Young Taiwanese Student Explores TCM in Beijing

Xu Zezhong, a Taiwanese man, began his freshman year at Beijing University of Chinese Medicine (BUCM) in 2020. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, he began his studies online for the first half of the academic year. Despite the challenges of learning virtually, Xu remained committed to his academic pursuits and continued to learn remotely.

In March 2021, Xu finally arrived at BUCM to continue his studies in person. He was excited to begin the next phase of his academic journey and was eager to take advantage of all the opportunities that the university had to offer. Xu was especially looking forward to engaging in hands-on learning experiences and interacting with his peers and professors in person.

As a student at BUCM, Xu is pursuing his interest in Chinese medicine. He has a strong desire to deepen his knowledge of this field and contribute to the advancement of traditional medicine. By studying at BUCM, Xu has access to top-tier resources, including renowned faculty members, state-of-the-art facilities, and a vast network of alumni.

Xu’s decision to attend BUCM reflects his dedication to learning and his passion for traditional medicine. He is determined to make the most of his time at the university and is excited about the opportunities that lie ahead.
Xu, who was born after 2000, expressed that his father had advised him to study traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) in mainland China, which is the birthplace of TCM. His father had recommended this path for Xu to gain a better understanding of TCM and to be immersed in the culture of TCM.

According to Xu, the learning atmosphere for TCM in the mainland is much stronger than in Taiwan. There are Chinese medical universities in multiple provinces in the mainland, and the local governments strongly support the development of TCM. This creates an environment where TCM is more deeply rooted and more widely accepted by the society.

In contrast, TCM is mainly taught at private medical schools that mainly focus on Western medicine in Taiwan. The teaching of TCM in these schools may be limited compared to the curriculum of Chinese medical universities in mainland China. Moreover, there may be fewer opportunities to gain practical experience in TCM in Taiwan, given that the number of TCM clinics and hospitals are limited.

By choosing to study TCM at BUCM in Beijing, Xu hopes to benefit from the institution’s comprehensive curriculum and rich resources, and to learn from experienced professors in the field. He looks forward to a challenging and rewarding academic journey, which he believes will provide him with the knowledge and skills to become a proficient TCM practitioner.

Xu shared that in his school, the discipline of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) includes three majors: TCM, Chinese herbs, and acupuncture. The curriculum covers a systematic exposition on TCM, providing students with a comprehensive understanding of the principles, theories, and practices of TCM. The curriculum also aims to cultivate the students’ critical thinking and analytical skills, enabling them to apply the knowledge they gain in their future careers.

Despite the rigorous curriculum, Xu maintains a thirst for knowledge about TCM and spends most of his spare time reading TCM books. He believes that by reading extensively, he can expand his knowledge, develop a deeper understanding of TCM, and learn about new developments in the field. However, Xu acknowledges that the vast amount of literature on TCM can be overwhelming, and some books may be written in classical Chinese, requiring more time and effort to digest.

To help him navigate the extensive literature, Xu has developed a systematic approach to reading TCM books. He prioritizes reading books recommended by his professors and colleagues and focuses on specific topics or areas that interest him. Xu also takes detailed notes on what he reads, which he believes helps him to retain the information better.

Xu’s dedication to learning and his passion for TCM have earned him recognition and respect among his peers and professors. He believes that his love for the subject will enable him to overcome any challenges he may face and make meaningful contributions to the field of TCM in the future.

Xu is an active member of the pulse diagnosis student organization at his school. As a part of this group, Xu and his team frequently set up stands in front of the school’s canteen to offer free pulse diagnosis to students. Through this practice, Xu gains valuable practical experience in pulse diagnosis, which he believes complements his theoretical knowledge of TCM. This practical experience allows him to put theory into practice and helps him to better understand the diagnosis process.

Xu has expressed a strong desire for the school to place more emphasis on teaching students how to identify medicinal herbs. He believes that this knowledge is crucial for TCM practitioners and that practical experience in identifying medicinal herbs in the mountains is the best way to gain a deeper understanding of the subject. According to Xu, the scent and flavor of herbal plants are related to their medical properties and environmental factors. Therefore, gaining practical experience in identifying medicinal herbs will provide a clearer understanding of their medical properties.

Although Xu has not yet had the opportunity to look for medicinal herbs in the mountains himself, he remains dedicated to gaining a deeper understanding of TCM. He spends his spare time reading extensively on the subject and practicing pulse diagnosis. Xu believes that his commitment to TCM will help him make meaningful contributions to the field in the future. He believes that learning about TCM is a lifelong journey, and he is determined to continually improve his knowledge and skills to become a proficient TCM practitioner.

Looking ahead, Xu plans to stay in mainland China after graduation. He believes that the mainland provides better opportunities for TCM practitioners than Taiwan. Xu hopes to pursue postgraduate studies to further his knowledge and skills in the field. He sees himself as a lifelong learner and hopes to become an expert in TCM. Xu’s passion for TCM and dedication to learning makes him a promising practitioner in the field.

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