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2023 Graduation Ceremony

The 30th Graduation Ceremony of Shenzhou Open University of TCM (SOU) was held at SOU main campus in Amsterdam on 6 October 2023.

The ceremony was attended by Mr. Zhilin Dong, SOU president, as well as teachers, graduates and their families and friends.

Welcome by Rob van Hees

Welcome to the 2023 graduation ceremony

A warm welcome to the graduates and their guests, to the representatives of the professional bodies NVA and Zhong, to our teachers and Dean and last but not last to Mr Dong who made all this possible.

I will guide you through the protocol this afternoon and will briefly introduce the speakers.

Opening by Rob van Hees Graduation 2021 Shenzhou Open University of TCM
Graduates and invitees at the Graduation 2021 Shenzhou Open University of TCM
Gifts from ZHONG at the Graduation 2021 Shenzhou Open University of TCM

Students and guests of the graduation ceremony

Our special guests who will speak this afternoon are:

  • Mrs. Dan Tan, Dean of Shenzhou Open University of TCM. 
  • Mrs. Xiaoli Dong, from the department of Education and Science of the professional association NVA. 
  • Mrs. Angie Calor-Man, Board member of the professional association Zhong, for Marketing and Communication. 
  • Mrs. Hong Dong, senior teacher of Shenzhou and will speak on behalf of the Shenzhou’s TCM teachers. 
  • Mr. Toine Korthout, will speak on behalf of the Western Medicine teachers and examination committee. 
  • and finally, our graduate Mr. Santiago Ramirez, who will speak on behalf of the graduates. 

Dr. Dan Tan

Dean of SOU

Your TCM journey is a lifelong venture. Today marks the successful end of one stage in your lives, and the beginning of a new one. But one fact remains unchanged. Shenzhou will always be here for you to provide a platform for training and continuing professional development (CPD). Furthermore, Shenzhou will continue closely working with Zhong, NVA and other professional associations as we want to help you maximise your potential and fulfil your goals as highly skilled, ethical, reflective and competent Chinese medicine practitioners. 

Speech by Dan Tan Graduation 2021 Shenzhou Open University of TCM
Dan Tan with one of the students

“Although we say “goodbye” to you today, we hope to see many of you again in the future as Shenzhou continues to develop pioneering, high-quality education to improve academic and clinical skills for graduates at all stages of your careers.”

Opening by Rob van Hees Graduation 2021 Shenzhou Open University of TCM

Xiaoli Dong, NVA

Celebrate the incredible achievements

Good afternoon! On behalf of NVA (Nederlandse Vereniging voor Acupunctuur) I come here to join you to celebrate the incredible achievements of these talented graduates who have completed their three-year acupuncture training. It’s a joyous occasion, and I promise to keep this brief because I know you’re all eager to get out there and start healing the world!

Now, let’s talk about acupuncture and its deep-rooted connection to Chinese culture. You see, acupuncture is like the OG wellness trend, way before all the mindfulness apps and websites. It’s a practice that’s been used in China for thousands of years, proving that ancient wisdom is often the best wisdom. So, graduates, you’re not just acupuncturists; you’re modern-day practitioners carrying on this incredible tradition.

As you embark on your journey into the world of acupuncture, remember that your needles aren’t just needles; they’re magical wands that can alleviate pain, restore balance, and bring harmony to the body. And yes, if you get really good, you might even convince your friends that you’re secretly a wizard.

But here’s the thing about acupuncture – it’s a lot like life itself. Sometimes, it takes a few tries to hit the right point. You’ll have moments when you feel like you’re searching for a needle in a haystack, but that’s okay. Just keep poking around, and you’ll find your path.
Speaking of paths, Chinese culture often emphasizes the importance of balance and finding harmony in everything we do. So, as you go forth in your careers, strive to maintain a balance between work and self-care. Remember to take a moment to breathe deeply, just like you’d advise your patients.

I have no doubt that all of you have the skill, compassion, and dedication needed to make a real difference in the lives of your patients. You have the opportunity to help people achieve optimal health and well-being, and that’s a gift worth celebrating.
So, graduates, I congratulate each and every one of you on your remarkable journey to becoming acupuncturists. May your careers be as fulfilling as they are prosperous, and may you continue to embrace the wisdom of ancient Chinese traditions while shaping the future of healthcare.

In closing, remember the words of Lao Tzu: “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” You’ve taken that step, and now the world is your acupuncture point. Congratulations, and may your futures be punctuated with success, health, and perhaps an NVA membership! Don’t hesitate to apply for it!

Thank you !

Hong Dong

On behalf of teachers of Traditional Chinese Medicine

First of all, congratulations to all the students who have graduated after years of hard work. There have been more than 30 years of graduates since Shenzhou University of Traditional Chinese Medicine was established. Shenzhou is one of the oldest and highly qualified TCM universities in Europe.

So it’s not easy to complete your studies, and it’s even harder to get excellent grades. But in the end, you have achieved good results through your own efforts. You have finally graduated. We are so proud of you!

Speech by Wilma van Maarschalkerweerd - Graduation 2021 Shenzhou Open University of TCM

Your graduation is the start of your career. You will put what you have learned into practice. All beginnings are hard. I’ve been engaging in acupuncture for almost 30 years. I’d like to share some of my own experience with you.

First, be patient with your patients. Teach your patients to be patient.
TCM treatment is different here in the Netherlands than in China. Because TCM is not the mainstream medicine here. So most of the patients who come to us for help already have chronic pain or disease, and they see us as their last hope. But they don’t know how TCM works. They are hoping that they will get better after only a few treatments even though they have been struggling and battling illness for many years. It is important to inform them of the duration of the treatment and prognosis very clearly. Explain to them how to view their disease from the perspective of TCM, so that they could have enough patience to accept being treated for a while. In the end, the desired effect could be achieved.

Second, as a TCM practitioner, you must be a good listener.
Listening is one of the four diagnosis methods in TCM. This is more important here because patients lack attention. Give them more time. Try to get the patients to open up to you about their problems and misfortune which is also a healing process because spirit and body are connected as one. This is exactly the principle of the holistic view of TCM.
And you treat not only the disease but also the persons’ wrong habits and lifestyle. You have to advise them to change that because that might be the cause of the disease. So, they can be cured, stay healthy and prevent disease.

Third, be confident.
Don’t worry about not having enough patients. When you cure one patient, he will bring more people to you. In addition, you should know that the scope of TCM treatment is very wide. Are you ready? You’ll be very busy.

The joy I see in my patients gives me a great sense of satisfaction. I believe you will enjoy your work too because you should do it with your passion just like you’ve learned TCM with your passion.

Finally, I’ll say that the TCM professional associations in the Netherlands, such as NVA, Zhong and TCMned, etc, all require their members to participate in refresher courses and training in the future. These are necessary to improve your treatment abilities. Your alma mater – Shenzhou University of TCM provides such courses and training. You are always welcome to come back.               

We wish you all successes in life and good luck!

Speech by Carsten Smink - Graduation 2021 Shenzhou Open University of TCM

Toine Korthout

On behalf of teachers of Western Medicine and the Examination Committee

“So far, so good
Good! …

Good to be here,

With good people,
At a good occasion,

In a good atmosphere,

In a good place,

At a good school,

Where you can learn good things

While it is good that you don’t have to study fundamentals of WM anymore,

Awaiting a good piece of paper that will prove that you have good understanding of anatomy, physiology, pathology and psychopathology, and of red flags and fishy signs, in order to become good therapist.

My WM students were good in cooperation in various assignments.
They were really good students in a pleasant group.

You all are still good in paying me your attention.

Some of you are even better,
in eagerness to get their certificate!

I seem to be good in letting you wait for the next item in today’s program.

So let’s try to get there,
on our way to a lot of happiness and a good buffet in the end!

Santiago Ramirez

On behalf of the graduates

It is a honor for me to stand here. Because I’m representing all of you.

We all started this transformative journey, so let us reflect of the significance of this moment. This achievement (Acupuncture, Herbal Medicine, Tuina or Western Medicine) is not just a profession, it is a calling, a passion, a commitment, a commitment to heal those who seek or need our help.

As we step into this new journey, let us remember the power of compassion and empathy. Let us approach each patient with an open heart, listening to their stories, and provide a healing space free from judgment.

Speech by Wilma van Maarschalkerweerd - Graduation 2021 Shenzhou Open University of TCM

Today, we celebrate not only our achievements but the immense potential that lies within each one of us in our hearts. We have chosen a path that requires dedication, lifelong learning, and a deep commitment to the well-being of others. It is a privilege and a responsibility that we carry with great honor.

To our families, friends, and loved ones who have supported us unconditionally, thank you for being our pillars of strength. Your encouragement, patience, and belief in our dreams are truly appreciated.

Before closing, I want to express my deepest gratitude to our school and mentors who guided us on this transformative journey, because your wisdom, expertise, and passion in Chinese Medicine inspired us to move forward in the Art of Healing.

So, Congratulations my fellow graduates. Let us move forward from this day with excitement, confidence, and a deep sense of purpose. Let us share our success, but also don’t forget to embrace our mistakes. Keep learning and growing, staying humble and curious, always seeking to expand your knowledge and skills….and what is also very important, to maintain this friendship that we built up during the last years. Let’s make an impact on the world and let’s keep supporting each other.

Thank you

2019 Graduates of Acupuncture

Meer informatie over SOU

Met 30 jaar onderwijservaring, hebben we een uitstekende reputatie in ons vakgebied opgebouwd, waar zowel de school als de alumni trots op zijn.