Pfeiffer students, staff return from 17-day immersion in China
By Natasha Suber
Pfeiffer University News Service
Pfeiffer University students recently returned from a 17-day “immersion experience” in China.
A delegation of Pfeiffer students, faculty and staff returned on May 29 as part of an ongoing cultural exchange established in 2006 between Pfeiffer and Shanxi University in Taiyuan, China.
The partnership between the universities provides students and faculty from both institutions an academic and cultural immersion for a two-week summer session.
“We are excited about our growing relationship with Shanxi University, one of China’s top-rated universities,” Dr. David Heckel, dean of the School of Humanities at Pfeiffer, said. “This agreement has provided a great opportunity for Pfeiffer students to learn about Chinese language and culture. Because China continues to be a major catalyst in globalization, we want to expose our students to the culture and practices there. We also want to provide them with a larger worldview, and this partnership affords us the chance to do that.”
The Pfeiffer students, as well as a student at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte who joined the delegation, said that experience did, indeed, provide a more global perspective.
“The trip was an incredible learning experience; immersing and exploring the culture gave me a new vision of the world,” said Patty Dominguez, a Pfeiffer junior economics and international business major.
Dominguez is among a fraction of students who travel abroad. A BBC World Service poll conducted in 25 countries revealed that only 29 percent of the 26,000 who participated in the survey feel the United States has a mainly positive influence ó or view ó of the world.
People from China and other rapidly developing countries that are competing for global market share, have studied or visited abroad. About 600,000 citizens of those countries studied in the U.S. last year, while only 8,200 Americans, mostly students, studied in China and India.
To demonstrate its commitment to cultural exchange and its Chinese program, Pfeiffer officials appointed Weihong Yan to serve as assistant professor of Chinese and director of China programs. Yan teaches Chinese language and cultural courses at Pfeiffer and helps to facilitate the partnership between Pfeiffer and Shanxi universities.
“China offers a ‘living textbook’ for Pfeiffer students,” Yan said. “Within only two weeks, our students have engaged in the study of the Chinese language, culture, history, economic development, natural resources and environment. I believe this trip definitely has positively changed not only the course of their future studies, but their outlook on the world around them.”
Shanxi University is four hours southwest of Beijing and was founded in 1902 as one of the only three state-sponsored universities in China. The university has developed into a nationally-renowned institution with five schools: arts, science, medicine, engineering and law.
Currently, Shanxi University is the only comprehensive university in Shanxi and serves as an important teaching and research institution that consistently ranks among the top 60 universities in China.