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Partnerships in China Expand Student Opportunities and Showcase UAlbany 

University at Albany President Havidán Rodríguez met with students from North China University of Technology and Shandong Normal University who participated in a cultural exchange at UAlbany over winter break. (Photo by Carlos Ortiz)

ALBANY, N.Y. (Feb. 7, 2019) – Ziyi Xu is a senior music major at Shandong Normal University (SDNU) in Jinan City, Shandong Province, China. She sings and plays piano.

What was she doing at UAlbany over winter break? Experiencing an American classroom and American culture.

“This program sounded great and I wanted to join it,” she said. Xu was one of 12 students from SDNU taking part in the January cultural exchange program at UAlbany, and receiving credit at their home institution.

She took “English for American Art, Film and History – with a focus on N.Y.,” offered through the Intensive English Language Program (IELP) in the Center for International Education and Global Strategy.

Two groups of Chinese students, one from SDNU and the other from North China University of Technology (NCUT) in Beijing, came to campus over winter break as part of the University’s deepening partnerships with these two institutions.

In December, President Havidán Rodríguez visited NCUT. That same month he welcomed a high-level delegation of university officials from SDNU.

Internationalization is a core priority of the University’s Strategic Plan. The short classes taken by SDNU and NCUT students are among the growing number of English for Specific Purposes (ESP) courses taught at UAlbany for students from other countries. Students from NCUT took Leadership and Business English. The IELP also has recently offered Medical English, English for Science and Technology, English for Engineering and Advanced Business English.

“Short ESP courses like this,” said Mark Rentz, associate vice provost for International Education and the managing director of the IELP, “are wonderful showcase opportunities to show our great programs, departments, and schools and colleges at UAlbany to universities around the world and let the relationships develop into more exchanges and even degree programs.”

President Rodríguez took time from his schedule to meet with students from both universities.

While at UAlbany, the students from SDNU had classes in American history and in film and art. They toured the Clark Art Institute and the Norman Rockwell Museum, and saw the founding documents of the United States at Williams College. They also visited the Albany Institute of History & Art.

The 19 NCUT students also took leadership workshops given by the Center for Leadership and Service as part of their Leadership and Business English program. NCUT students also studied the life and leadership of Martin Luther King Jr. through readings, film and speeches and attended the Memorial MLK Jr. Observance at the Empire State Plaza. While touring the New York State Museum and New York State Capitol, the NCUT students learned that four New York State governors honed their leadership skills in Albany before becoming presidents of the United States.

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