From July 15, 2012 to August 2, 2012 the Reves Center for International Studies hosted the inaugural University of Electronic Sciences and Technology of China (UESTC)/William & Mary Summer Program.
24 UESTC students and two faculty advisors traveled from Chengdu, China to Williamsburg in order to explore American history and culture, and receive an introduction to graduate study at an American institution of higher learning through lectures, department visits, and cultural trips throughout the Hampton Roads area.
“While designing the program, we really put a lot of emphasis on providing a balanced mix of lectures about American history and culture paired with cultural activities that correlated to the lecture topics, for example a lecture in American music followed by an evening of square dancing” said Debi DeBacco, global education programs and services coordinator at the Reves Center. “The students thoroughly enjoyed the opportunities to improve their English proficiency with daily English class, and by interacting with W&M students and community members.”
“Off campus” events included dinner with families in Governor’s Land, a walking tour of historic Richmond, the Richmond Slave Trail and the Canal Walk, taking in a Flying Squirrels baseball game, touring Colonial Williamsburg, Jamestown and Yorktown, and cruising Norfolk Harbor.
Much like the College’s long-standing Keio/W&M Cross-Cultural Collaboration, the UESTC/W&M Summer Program looks set to become an annual event.
“This program was an exciting opportunity for William & Mary to introduce students from a university with which we have a close relationship to mix and mingle with American students and to get a taste of life in America,” said Theresa Johansson, assistant director of global education at the Reves Center. “The program has a strong academic base, but we really emphasized delivering the content in an engaging way. Next year, in addition to the student program, we’re also going to expand to include training for Chinese faculty teaching in English to their Chinese students.”
“The inaugural program was an undeniable success,” agreed Kevin Kosanovich, director of the program. “Based on the excitement and enthusiasm of the UESTC students and William & Mary staff taking part in this program, as well as the growing relationship between both institutions, next summer’s program will only expand this year’s great work!”