The PKU-UChicago International Policy Action Lab (IPAL) gives students a foundation in policy analysis and coding with a space to apply the skills in a capstone research project. IPAL provides resources from Peking University and the University of Chicago to broaden the social experience and out-of-classroom learning.

We spoke with Shilin Liu, Senior Director of International Partnerships and Executive Education, to learn about these resources for the upcoming 2022 program.

What are some of the resources and experiences offered by UChicago?

We begin the program with several orientation activities designed to help students get to know one another. This helps students to find peers with similar interests, academic passions, and even hometowns. Our use of small-group settings and communication tools enables students to build friendships throughout the five-week program.

We invite David Chrisinger, director of the UChicago Harris Writing Program and the Persuasive Writing Credential, to provide interactive writing workshops to help students learn the basics of public policy writing and complete their IPAL capstone research project.

“The best part of my IPAL experience was getting to know several nice new friends. I learned a lot from them and we developed lovely friendships that will continue to play roles in my life even after the end of the program.”

–Yuan Zhuang, IPAL Credential 2021

What are some of the resources and experiences offered by Peking University?

For students located or traveling to Beijing, Peking University offers valuable in-person experiences, such as several guided field trips to selective international organizations, as well as Deep Talks, a series of discussions featuring industry experts. Field trips in the summer of 2021 included the Paulson Institute, World Economic Forum, and the World Bank. Speakers included Dr. Ren Lin, Assistant Professor at Institute of World Economics and Politics (IWEP), and Dr. Zhang Jianpin, Director General of the Center for Regional Economic Cooperation.

These opportunities are subject to change each year depending on availability and local regulations in Beijing.

“The US-China International Relations Institute was a pretty great experience. It was also great to hear from guest speakers from PKU to talk about their experiences.”

–Ziyao Wang, IPAL Credential 2021

What does the virtual social experience look like for students?

We strive to provide students with a true Peking-UChicago student experience even in the virtual format. IPAL offers several activities for students to join. There are weekly social hours, in which they get to informally interact and play games with their peers. Students can also access informal WeChat groups built for their city groups to organize in-person hangouts. For example, in 2021, some students located in Beijing organized a barbeque meetup and board game hangout for more social bonding.

“The social nights and games made it possible to talk to the other students in a relaxed manner and provided a bridge between us. The people in charge were reliable and ready to help. I liked how they planned all the events.”

–Ana Maria Elena, IPAL Credential 2021