Westminster Chinese Exchanges Aligned with Obama's 100,000 Strong Initiatives
Reciprocal exchange programs growing in popularity
Contact: Stephanie Carter (801) 832-2682
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Jan. 24, 2011
SALT LAKE CITY – Last week’s high-profile visit of Chinese President Hu Jintao once again drew attention to the Obama administration’s 100,000 Strong Initiative: “a national effort designed to increase dramatically the number and diversify the composition of American students studying in China.” The goal is to double the number of American students studying in China by 2014.
Many universities have deemed the task daunting and are struggling to find ways to implement it, but not Westminster College in Salt Lake City, Utah.
“At Westminster the doors are open. We’re really in the position to accept the President’s challenge,” said Dr. Christopher Tong, Director of the Center for China-America Business Studies at Westminster.
In 2007 Westminster officially signed exchange agreements with two schools in China, Nankai University and Donghua University. Since then, Westminster has continued to foster its relationships in China, engaging in growing business and cultural exchanges as well as reciprocal educational exchange programs.
One of the undergraduate student exchange agreements Westminster has is with the School of Economics at Nankai University in Tianjin, China, one of the top 10 universities in China. Along with the exchange program, students from Westminster also have the opportunity to earn an economics degree from both schools and receive a certificate from the Chinese Ministry of Education for passing the Hanyu Shuiping Kaoshi exam. Twelve Westminster students participated in the program in the fall of 2010.
The college also has an exchange program for MBA students at the Glorious School of Business and Management at Donghua University in Shanghai. Graduate-level students participating in this program have extensive opportunities to meet and network with MBA students from China and around the world, and to intern with companies in China’s most international city.
Beyond the exchange programs, Westminster also has opportunities for shorter trips to China. Each year, Westminster MBA students take a 10-day trip to China as part of a mandatory international experience. Undergraduates have the chance for a two-week trip as part of a May term experience. It’s just another effort from Westminster to help introduce students to the industry and culture of China.
In developing these types of programs, Westminster is well aligned with the goals articulated by First Lady Michelle Obama:
“Studying in countries like China isn’t only about your prospects in the global marketplace.” The First Lady said. “It’s not just about whether you can compete with your peers in other countries to make America stronger. It’s also about whether you can come together, and work together with them to make our world stronger. It’s about the friendships you make, the bonds of trust you establish, and the image of America that you project to the rest of the world.”
Those bonds are also cultivated by the number of Chinese students who come each year to study at Westminster College. There are presently about 50 students from China attending the college this semester.
At Donghua University, Westminster also supports a joint MBA program for Chinese students. Through this program, students complete a project-based curriculum created by Westminster faculty to demonstrate mastery of business concepts- real projects for real firms. The program is offered exclusively in Shanghai and is taught by both Westminster College and Donghua University faculty. The first group of 30 students to complete the program will graduate in June, 2011.
“Both Chinese and American students love these exchange experiences,” Dr. Tong said. “We have every intention to send more of our students to China.”
“When you are from a less-developed country, there is every incentive to study in a more developed country like America. Sometimes, getting American students to want to go somewhere like China can be hard,” he continued.
“But when our students build friendships with the Chinese exchange students we have here, learn about the food, their culture, put a personal face on the country, they are more comfortable and excited bout the prospect of studying in China,” Dr. Tong added. “And that is what will make it easy for them to expand their horizons, learn new things in a foreign setting and be successful in doing so.”
Westminster is a nationally recognized, comprehensive liberal arts college. With a broad array of graduate and undergraduate programs, Westminster is distinguished by its unique environment for learning. Westminster prepares students for success through active and engaged learning, real world experiences and its vibrant campus community. Westminster’s unique location, adjacent to the Rocky Mountains and to the dynamic city of Salt Lake, further enriches the college experience. For more information visit www.westminstercollege.edu or follow @WestminsterSLC or @WestminsterPR on Twitter.