WashU spotlight: Judy Zhijun Mu

Judy Zhijun Mu oversees the Global Med Prep Scholars program in Shanghai every fall. Photo by Sean Garcia

Judy Zhijun Mu, senior lecturer in Chinese and resident director for Washington University in Shanghai, will be heading to China again this fall to teach and oversee the day-to-day operations of Washington University’s Global Med Prep Scholars Program. The program offers pre-med undergraduates a chance to study abroad in Shanghai and shadow both doctors who practice Western medicine and those who practice traditional Chinese medicine. The program, which is overseen by Greg Polites, MD, associate professor of emergency medicine, has been a change for Mu, who previously only oversaw the school’s language immersion program in China.

“They’re a totally different cohort from language students,” Mu says. The Global Med Prep Scholars usually have never studied Chinese. “You basically have to start off by teaching them how to say hello. But they are really hard-working students. They’re very motivated and know why they’re there.”

Mu and her teaching assistants are responsible for the Chinese instruction. She also oversees other aspects of the program, such as interviewing candidates, helping them get their visas, and leading orientation sessions. She coordinates with Fudan University to find doctors for students to shadow and also finds native Chinese-language partners for all of the students to help them navigate Shanghai when they arrive.

To make matters more complex, Washington University’s summer language institute runs simultaneously, and Mu oversees that as well. Usually, there are only a few advanced language students compared to the dozen or more Global Med Prep Scholars that typically enroll in the program.

Mu enjoys watching the students transition from confused to confident.

“Eventually, they really love it in Shanghai,” she says.

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