The University of North Carolina at Greensboro

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

New World Views: Student Exchange and Study Abroad Programs Expand Opportunities, Perspectives of Participants

A delegation from UNCG visits the Great Wall in Beijing as part of a visit to foster partnerships for faculty and staff exchange programs in China. (Pictured from left to right): Antonio Truyols, Dean of the UNCG School of Health and Human Sciences Celia Hooper, John Salmon, Tang Cai, Dean of the UNCG School of Education Karen Wixson, Doryl Jensen, Ye He, and Nell Pynes.

新的世界观 : 国际交流改变思想
Nueva Vision del Mundo:
Iniciativas Internacionales Cambian Opiniones'
By Sherry Meeks
 
Lucia Vidable regretted not being a part of a study abroad program while she was an undergraduate student. When she got a second chance as a UNCG graduate student, she eagerly took it, participating in a university trip to Costa Rica in May. 

Vidable is one of many School of Education students taking advantage of UNCG’s numerous overseas programs. The School of Education encourages UNCG students to explore the world beyond the United States, and also encourages international students to study at UNCG via student exchange programs.
The School of Education’s newest student exchange endeavor began as a faculty exchange with China, but soon became an opportunity for students on both sides of the globe to learn from each other.

Dr. Ye “Jane” He, Assistant Professor in the Department of Teacher Education and Higher Education and an alum of Shanghai Normal University in China, says that a memorandum of understanding was signed in April between the universities. Two Chinese students are currently attending UNCG, and the goal is to have UNCG students taking courses at Shanghai Normal in the future.

English Education majors Peiwen Yu and Jiayi Zhang are the first two students from China to attend UNCG as part of the exchange. Yu said she came to the U.S. “to experience the real American culture and (to) learn how American people teach their students.” Zhang added that with her particular major that “it is important to experience the culture.”
Both students say they will use the strengths of each educational system to improve their teaching. This will include the Chinese focus on classroom discipline, alongside the American emphasis on independent problem solving.
But Yu and Zhang are teaching as well as learning. They explained that they think their fellow students at UNCG now understand more about the Chinese people. According to Yu and Zhang, Americans often believe that Chinese people are always serious, but both students say they enjoy having fun and sharing a laugh. They say their presence on campus has shown UNCG students that their Chinese counterparts aren’t so different after all.
Likewise, Vidable said her trip to Costa Rica was an invaluable cultural experience, and she plans to return in 2013. This time, she will be a facilitator for first-year graduate students taking the trip.
Vidable is studying counseling at UNCG, and explained that overseas study will help her in her career as she serves students from diverse, international backgrounds. Vidable says studying abroad challenges a student’s worldview and helps them understand the perspectives of others.
“It’s about exposing yourself to different things and understanding there are different world views from your own,” she said.
In the summer of 2013, an International Service-Learning in Special Education study abroad program will be conducted in Reggio Emilia, Italy. Students enrolled in this study abroad course will learn about special education and early childhood education practices in Reggio Emilia, Italy through program visits, professional interactions, and a community service-learning project that will be completed after returning to the U.S. In addition, students will visit historic sites in Florence, Milan, and Venice to learn about the culture and history of northern Italy.
The School of Education is dedicated to providing unique and engaging student exchange and study abroad programs to foster an environment of cultural understanding throughout the student body.

UNCG delegates visit the International Exchanges Division at Shanghai Normal University in China as part of a cultural exchange visit. (Pictured from left to right):
John Salmon, Dean of the UNCG School of Health and Human Sciences Celia Hooper, Wei Jia, Randall Kaplan, Nell Pynes, Dean of the UNCG School of Education Karen Wixson, Doryl Jensen, Ye He, Antonio Truyols, and Tang Cai.

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