Yongqi Liang

Jared Asuncion/ September 14, 2018/

After I graduated from Wuhan University 2005, I went to Beijing to start a master-phd program in Chinese Academy of Sciences under the supervision of Prof. Xu Fei. At that time, I did not plan to study in a foreign country. I had not even heard of the world-famous University Paris-sud. Prof. Ullmo from Paris-sud was visiting Tsinghua University in Beijing and he gave a course on modular forms and organized a student seminar on Shimura varieties. Prof. Xu encouraged me to attend the course and give a talk in the student seminar. After that semester, I decided to have a try to begin a life abroad and to see how a top university is like. Prof. Ullmo encouraged me to apply the ALGANT program. I think that ALGANT was much less selective than nowadays, there were not that many applicants. Generally speaking, to get a scholarship abroad, one needs either complete the TOEFL and GRE exams for the US or apply a program in a certain non-English-speaking European country. I did not want to spend too much time to prepare for the English tests but save my time to study math. That was the main reason why I was not planning to go abroad but when suddenly ALGANT came to me I changed my mind to study abroad. I had no expectations before I went to Europe, such a program is far beyond my imagination. However, I did take a French course after my decision. I believed that French will open to me a new window of the world, and it does. ALGANT has impacted me quite a lot on my career and my life. As what most of us had done, after ALGANT, I began my Phd thesis. In Paris, I had many choices for a PhD. Actually, during the second year of ALGANT, I was allowed to choose any second year master courses in any universities in the Paris region. I was also allowed to work with any professor in Paris to complete a master’s thesis. I had the freedom to learn things in which I was interested. In most of the cases, I can find related courses given by researchers working in that domain. Finally, I stayed still in Paris-sud to begin a PhD thesis under the supervision of Prof. David Harari. That period of four or five years in Paris-sud was quite a hard time as a student. I had never thought that math is that difficult and I had never thought that my colleagues can be that excellent. I think it was what a top university meant to me at that time. I had learnt a lot not only from my professors but also from my colleagues. Paris has the best surroundings to learn math. After those years in Paris-sud, immediately after the defense of my thesis I got a permanent position in University Paris 7. With such a beginning of my career, I was quite fortunate. My life has also changed a lot. When I was an undergraduate, I did not travel very often. I had not thought about that I should travel around China. I am lucky that I can live in Paris for several years when I am young. During weekends, I visited museums in Paris to see the best creations of human civilization. Europe is totally a new world for me. I won’t say explicitly, but I cannot count how many times I had culture shocks. The way people think or the way how things work is sometimes absolutely completely different from the Chinese way. During the master years, I started to travel around Europe and I have been to about 30 European countries now. After I had saved some more money, I also travelled to middle- east, to Latin America and the like. Travel has opened my eyes, I can see a plentiful world that I had never imagined. Though this is certainly a by-product, I appreciate a lot this change that ALGANT has brought to me. I won’t say that ALGANT fits for everybody. But I hope that my experiences can help you to know a little more about the ALGANT program.