Global: Meet a Medical Student in Hebei, China

Interviewer: Ashley Liang; June 20, 2020

Interviewee: Nian Nian Hou, 3rd year medical student @ Hebei Medical University

Hebei Medical University in Heibei, China (

Could you tell us a little about yourself and what school you attend?

I am a third-year medical student at Hebei Medical University (河北医科大学), which is a university only for medical students.

How has COVID-19 impacted you as a medical student?

As a medical student, the biggest impact on me is that I cannot go back to school and can only take classes online. We are continuing online classes until the end of our semester.

Do you think that the curriculum will change at all, as a result of COVID-19?

COVID-19 has not changed our curriculum and course progress. All of our courses begin and end on time. However, we have a lot of lab and practical-heavy classes this semester. The biggest disadvantage of online classes is that we cannot carry out the practical operations and can only learn the experimental content through a virtual platform. On the other hand, taking theory-heavy classes online is very similar to taking those classes in schools. A good advantage of having online classes is that you can watch the lectures and the Q&A’s repeatedly because they are recorded.

Has COVID-19 impacted your outlook on the medical field in any way?

I am still committed to studying medicine. The medical system does have its problems but I have faith that this pandemic will promote improvement.

If you don’t mind sharing, how has COVID-19 impacted you and your family personally?

The pandemic has given me more time to be with my family. We are also paying a lot more attention to personal hygiene and other precautionary measures.

What do you think about the growing anti-Asian sentiment since the outbreak?

Many times, people’s needs for venting emotions are much greater than their willingness to clarify the truth. The idea that Asians, especially the Chinese, are to blame for this pandemic is not completely accurate and is largely due to long-term prejudice and incomplete understanding of information. The pandemic is an issue that all of humankind should face together, so it is not rational to blame a certain country.

"The pandemic is an issue that all of humankind should face together..."

What do you believe others can do to help ease the problems that you have seen?

Definitely wash your hands frequently, wear masks, stay away from crowds, and isolate yourselves if you show any symptoms to reduce the spread of the virus.

What do you think is the greatest lesson we can learn from this outbreak?

The emergence of new diseases is inevitable for humankind. Especially for some infectious diseases, we should always be vigilant. Constantly improving and researching better prevention systems will allow us to minimize losses when facing another epidemic.

Is there anything else you would like to share?

I hope that all countries can control COVID-19 as soon as possible, and students can return to school.