|Jiawei Guo “Jada” at the Alliance office in Beijing||Dining services at the Beijing Language and Culture University. Jada tells me Bryant students rate the food very highly.|
We do enroll students currently with the Alliance in Beijing. In fact, seven Bryant students are enrolled this semester with the Alliance at the Beijing Language and Culture University. As with all the Alliance programs in China, the Beijing program is a hybrid that brings the best of an “island” model together with immersion experiences. Classes are sheltered, while co-curricular activities tilt strongly toward immersion. The standard curriculum provides nine credit hours of language and two content courses (6 hours) with instruction in English. The language program connects each student one-on-one with a Chinese graduate student for at least 3 hours of additional tutorial, conversation, and cultural mentoring each week. The content courses offered this semester include an economics course, sociology, and a course on the environmental movement in China. The co-curricular program is also very strong, and students have the opportunity to get involved in volunteer activities, community service, and internships.
|The library at the Beijing Language and Culture University. The library is a popular study site, as is typical at Chinese Universities, but the Alliance staff and instructors work to maintain lending libraries in English for their study abroad population.||Dean Lux with “Jada” Guo and Chad Futrell, one of the Alliance faculty in Beijing|
Overall, this is a very strong program, and, as with the Alliance sites in Shanghai and Xi’an, the emphasis is on strong language programs and carefully chosen themes for the content courses. Here, in Beijing, the emphasis is on contemporary society and culture in China. Chad Futrell, a Cornell sociologist, provides a good bit of that content with a course on social issues in China and another on the contemporary environmental movement. Chad and Jiawei “Jada” Guo spent well over half a day with me on National Day going over the Alliance curriculum and describing the co-curricular programming in Beijing. What they described is a strongly integrated program design.
|The residence hall for international students at the Beijing Language and Culture University||The residence hall convenience store|
I came away from all the Alliance programs I visited with the sense that they had been put together by drawing on local resources to complement the classroom experiences. The resident directors and staff I met in Shanghai, Xi’an, and Beijing all have a strong academic background. Although we didn’t get a chance to meet, my understanding is that the same holds true for Bing Han, the Resident Director in Beijing. All the Alliance staff have also built up significant working experience in global education and study abroad programming. The integrated approach to the language program under the direction of Tian Zhou is a real plus. These are programs that “walk the walk” in language instruction as well as in the integration of the academic and co-curricular programming.
These two days of visits with Beijing staff from the Education Abroad Network and the Alliance for Global Education wrapped up my study abroad visits for this trip. From my perspective, these were visits well worth making. I learned a lot, and I hope I was able to give our partners a better sense of Bryant and our commitment to global education. As a final word on this topic, I guess I have to come back to one of the original points I made in discussing the programs in Shanghai. Study abroad is a very personal and individual experience. Each student brings different needs and expectations to the occasion. We can look at the processes, programming, and opportunities in broad brush strokes, but the experience is absolutely personal for each student who goes abroad. Those of us who work with students need to understand that and bear that fact in mind as we prepare to advise students and recommend programs.
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Last Updated: November 21, 2017