(Tahlequah, Okla.)—As part of an educational and cultural exchange, four students from Northeastern State University will travel to China in October to study and represent the institution at Weifang University in Weifang, Shandong Province.
Madison Hayes of Muskogee, Haley Stocks of Tahlequah and sisters Lindsey and Rachel Taylor of Park Hill will visit China with the assistance of CIBT Education Group Inc., a Canada-based education management company.
“We will take language, history and culture classes at Weifang University,” Rachel said. “However we will still be enrolled in classes at NSU, so we will work on those courses online while we are away.”
Another purpose of the trip is to encourage Chinese students to attend NSU. The Northeastern contingent will staff an information booth at college fairs taking place over a three-week span. They will communicate through an interpreter provided by CIBT.
“We will be ambassadors for the university,” Lindsey said. “We will tell students in China what life is like at NSU, what the university has to offer and why they should attend. We will also explain what it is like to live in the United States, and Tahlequah in particular, so they can have an idea of what to expect if they decide to come study at Northeastern.”
Dr. Richard Carhart, executive director of international studies at NSU, said demand continues to increase at Chinese universities for diversification and internationalization of faculty, students and programs.
“Because these institutions want a foreign presence, CIBT offers to facilitate partnerships between schools in the U.S. and China,” Carhart said. “These can take the form of student exchanges, 2-plus-2 or 3-plus-1 degree programs or the global learning center being established at NSU-Broken Arrow.”
Having students represent the institution is an adjustment to NSU’s recruiting efforts in China.
“We sent professional staff to the China college fairs in March,” Carhart said. “We wanted to change the model a bit. This creates an educational opportunity for our students while they offer information about the university. Who better to talk with prospective NSU students in China than current NSU students?”
Carhart said asking students to assist with recruiting in China is a refinement of NSU’s determination to provide a personal touch during the college fairs.
“Many American universities choose to have Chinese citizens represent them at the fairs,” he said. “By sending our own people, we stand out and show that we’re serious and eager for them to attend our institution.”
NSU President Martin Tadlock, who worked with CIBT to forge the academic agreements with Weifang University, said sending students abroad is consistent with Northeastern’s mission to empower students to be socially responsible global citizens.
“It is our responsibility to provide students with opportunities to understand a different language, culture and people and integrate that into their academic experience at NSU,” he said. “The world is changing. Many Americans have jobs that are in other countries or that take them abroad. There is a great need to learn about languages, customs and traditions, to establish cross-cultural relationships and to foster global understanding.”
The Taylor sisters each expressed excitement and gratitude for the opportunity to travel overseas. The trip to China will require the first air travel by either.
“This will be my first time out of the U.S. – never been to Canada or Mexico,” Lindsey said. “I’m excited about visiting another culture. I will be looking at a different history, perhaps a sort of living history.”
“I’m grateful for the opportunity to go,” Rachel said. “I look forward to experiencing China first-hand, meeting people and seeing the sights.”
Published: 8/9/2011 2:41:04 PM