The first group of students from Tsinghua University in China came to Aachen in September 2001 for a period of three months. Starting in 2003 the start of the program shifted to March and was extended to a year. The goal of the program is to enable students enrolled in the RWTH's international Master programs in Automotive Engineering or Production Engineering to obtain a joint Master's degree from both renowned universities.
Learning German is an integral part of the students' study program. Over the course of their stay in Aachen students acquire a level of proficiency in German that allows them to deal with everyday situations both at the university and in daily life. This is especially important considering that most students remain in Germany after the end of their program to do an internship at a German company.
Students from Tsinghua University have become a mainstay of university life at RWTH. Several students from earlier years have come back to Aachen to complete their doctoral degree, while an increasing number of German exchange students have welcomed the chance to spend a year abroad to study at Tsinghua University in Beijing. Before leaving they have the opportunity to attend beginner's courses in Chinese at the Language Center.
Tsinghua University in Beijing is one of the best-known universities in China. Located on the site of a former royal garden of the Qing Dynasty, Tsinghua University became a multidisciplinary polytechnic university with an emphasis on training engineers in 1952. Since 1978 Tsinghua University has gradually restored such disciplines as science, economic management, humanities and law, and in 1999 opened the School of Arts and Design. With the motto "Study together - Research together", RWTH Aachen University and Tsinghua University have established a special exchange programm enabling students in Automotive Engineering and Production Engineering to acquire a joint master's degree recognised both in China and in German.