Fourteen students from Anhui Science and Technology University (ASTU) in Fengyang, China will soon travel to Louisiana College for fall and spring classes as part of the Master of Arts in Teaching program. In preparation for the transition from China to Louisiana, representatives from Louisiana College visited Anhui Province in China to teach the required courses to begin the program.
Dr. Randall Esters, Dean of the Education Division at LC, Allison Bruchhaus, Director of College Communications for LC, and Dr. Anna Nguyen, Director of the ESL program at LC all traveled to ASTU to teach and to help students prepare for the next two semesters in a foreign country. Esters, Bruchhaus, and Nguyen were welcomed by Mr. Zhang, Dean of the Center for International Relations at ASTU, and Mingyan Hu, Assistant Director of the Center for International Relations.
ASTU entered into a partnership with LC in January, 2010, after being introduced to the Cofounder/Education Director of Horizon English based in Heining, China. The representative from Horizon English felt that ASTU was very hospitable and very trustworthy as well as feeling that it is a great place and maybe the right partner for LC. The representative for Horizon English then talked to Dr. Aguillard about ASTU. Then, they talked about the possibility of cooperation and communication with LC to offer opportunities for international study for students from both institutions.
Hu shared, “Actually it was not our University that found LC, but LC found us. I believe LC was trying to open its doors to other countries for international programs. Dr. Aguillard felt very excited about our university so our president invited them to come to have a look and to have a talk. They came, and we signed the agreement. Our meetings and talks were so successful. What followed was a visit by our delegation to LC in March of this year.”
This is the first time LC will host Chinese students for this length of time. Administrators from both institutions are excited for the opportunity for cultural and educational exchange. The partnership is young, but programs are progressing rapidly. Three of the six programs decided upon between ASTU and LC are finished or in progress. The other programs are in development to be in place next year.
“I positively think that and believe that LC will be the most important partner and our most successful one,” Zhang mentioned. “We have opened our doors to LC and hope students and teachers will visit our campus on a regular basis just as our students and teachers will with LC.”
As time is spent with the students and leaders at ASTU, one quickly realizes the caliber of character among the group at this educational institution. Not only are they very hospitable, but they are enthusiastic about learning and life.
“You first have to claim a position and then you can do something great.” Zhang mentioned this saying when addressing the goals of the ASTU Center for International Relations. “Only if this center grows with international programs can we grow. As we all know the world is growing smaller and smaller. If you do not have international experience you cannot be fully successful in your future career.”
Education is taken seriously, but that does not mean there is any lack of fun, joy, and laughter. Despite the cultural barriers facing the students as they move to another country and begin a program of study at another institution, they are excited and brought many smiles to the faces of the Esters, Bruchhaus, and Nguyen during their time together in China.
Esters wasted no time getting to know the students and also addressed one issue during the first day of class in China. While working with English-speaking administration and staff, each student from ASTU uses an American name. Cindy, Sophie, and Nicholas are three American names used by the Chinese students.
“Each of the students is given an American name. It’s difficult for them to pronounce the names at first just like it is for us their given names. But once they get the hang of it, they think it is so much fun to have their name and learn the others.” Esters said, “It really increases cohesiveness producing greater emotional and task-oriented connections.”
The students are very curious about what life will be like in America while at LC. Questions were asked about food, Internet access, and even classroom arrangements. China is a producer of many diverse fruits and vegetables including some that are not readily available in the LC area. The Internet will be used for their coursework and communication with family back home. Also, there are many differences between Chinese classrooms and traditional American classrooms.
Another question was asked regarding rest time. At ASTU, everyone takes a two-hour lunch break. A short nap is taken by most everyone on campus after finishing their noon meal. In America, we may think of a two-hour lunch break as too long or only for more privileged positions. However, in China this is a way of life.
There are many other cultural aspects that will be addressed as the year progresses. Esters, Bruchhaus, and Nguyen know the time spent with the students in their homeland is extremely valuable.
“We were able to see what their daily lives are like and to be their neighbors while on campus. We saw firsthand what life at a Chinese university is like. We ate meals with administrators and students. We shopped at the campus supermarket.” Bruchhaus continued, “By us being able to see where they are coming from we can now help them adjust to life at LC. It is our hope that their quality of life will be rich and they can reach full learning capacity while attending our university.”
The students travel to America on September 3, 2011. They will be enrolled full-time as LC students and take education courses taught by Esters, Nguyen, and other professors in the Education Division at LC.
LC eagerly awaits their arrival.
For more information, please contact the Office of College Communications at (318) 487-7194.