The Upper Iowa University Center for International Education recently welcomed 19 students and two chaperones from Hebei, China’s Shijiazhuang No. 42 Middle School to Fayette Campus as part of UIU’s new American College Experience program. Iowa and Hebei have been in a sister-state relationship since 1983.
The purpose of the American College Experience program is to provide the visiting students a taste of an American university experience and an introduction to UIU. The Center for International Education hopes that this will be the start of a beneficial partnership with the schools in Hebei, and that graduating Chinese students will choose to study at UlU.
“Thanks to the efforts of UIU staff and faculty members this program is a success,” UIU Center for International Education director David Stewart said. “Our team’s thorough preparations and planning paid off, especially when you consider our current winter weather conditions. I’m really happy that the visiting students enjoyed their experience at UIU.”
The visiting students, who ranged in ages from 13 to 17, were accompanied by the school’s director of foreign affairs Chenggang Zhang and mathematics teacher Pingping Yin. The school plans to bring older students during their future visit to Fayette.
“We hope to come every year,” Zhang said. “It was a wonderful experience that exceeded our expectations. Our students were well exposed to the different aspects of American culture.”
The group participated in various UIU and community activities before their departure on February 18. In addition to a student panel where the visiting students had an opportunity to speak to international students studying at Fayette Campus, the UIU activities included a marketing presentation and graphic design project. The visitors also experienced taking various classes alongside the local university students. Additional activities included visiting the Fayette County Law Enforcement Center in West Union, Iowa; Pike’s Peak overlook near McGregor, Iowa; Villa Louis in Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin; Northeast Iowa Food Bank in Waterloo, Iowa; and a two-day trip to Chicago.
Chinese student Shenjie Zhang, 14, is one of the Chinese students who plans to further his tertiary education in America. He hopes to learn more about the local American culture through his participation in this program.
“There are significant differences between Chinese and American culture,” Zhang said. “The education system, sports and even behaviors of the people are different. Chinese people are shy, but Americans are very outgoing and friendly.”