RIO GRANDE — The University of Rio Grande took another step in its initiative for worldwide cultural exchange, as they recently hosted a delegation from Xi’an Eurasia University in China.
The initiative supplements the already successful exchange program the university has with The University of Wales, Trinity St. David, and will add even more opportunities for international study from abroad. New International Programs and Services Coordinator Abby Conder expressed the importance of the visit.
“This is an exciting opportunity because not only are we planning to send some of our Rio students to study in China, but we are also inviting their students to study here on campus,” Conder said. “We are creating a support structure for them by making investments in hiring staff to contribute and take care of the students while they are here.”
To expand the relationship with China, representatives from Xi’an Eurasia University visited Rio’s campus and met with President Dr. Michelle Johnston, Provost Richard Sax, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences David Lawrence, staff, faculty and student ambassadors. While in Rio Grande, they learned first-hand what experiences will be available to their students.
“We are excited to continue forming this relationship with the university,” Conder said. “Our first gesture was for Dr. Johnston to visit Xi’an Eurasia University this past fall. Hosting the representatives helped us further strengthen the bonds between our universities. They were wonderful to work with and extremely receptive to what Rio offers their students.”
Conder said she hopes the first student exchange with Xi’an Eurasia University will take place in the spring 2017 semester. Rio is establishing similar programs with two other universities in the province.
Johnston emphasized the importance of global and cultural opportunities as part of the Rio experience.
“These partnerships are significant steps forward as we seek to provide a high-quality, comprehensive education,” she said. “Besides the obvious pluses of expanding international programs here, the unexpected and indirect benefits motivate us to be highly successful.”
Conder pointed out the value of community engagement with the visit and added visiting students will encounter similar cultural opportunities while at Rio.
“While our Chinese dignitaries were visiting the Rio campus, we also shared our community’s attractions with them, such as the Bob Evans Farm wagon tour, horseback riding with Rio Valley Stables, and the River Museum in Point Pleasant, W.Va.,” she said. “The Chinese students who take part in the exchange program that emerges from this partnership will also be able to explore our local community with Rio-hosted cultural trips that extend outside of their typical academic study,” Conder said.
Rio is also encouraging students to understand more about cultures around the world by forming an International Club this fall.
“The International Club will be open to all of our students and even the community. This will be a great opportunity for our international students to interact with more Americans and for our community to learn more about different cultures. by interacting with students from different parts of the globe,” Conder said.
The International Club’s inaugural event will take place in September.
For more information about the programs or how to get involved, email Conder at [email protected] or call (740) 245-7115.
Jessica Patterson is a communications specialist with the University of Rio Grande and Rio Grande Community College.