SVC Students to Study at Beijing Center for Chinese Studies
Posted: Monday Oct 17, 2011
Following a visit with officials in China last summer, Br. Norman W. Hipps, O.S.B., president of Saint Vincent College, recently met on campus with Chris Tow of the Beijing Center for Chinese Studies to continue with plans to provide an opportunity for Saint Vincent students to study there.
“Since 1998, the Beijing Center has provided the world with an unprecedented education about China,” Br. Norman commented. “Our students, along with others from across the country and throughout the world, have an opportunity to travel to Beijing to learn about and experience both the immense transformations and rich traditional cultures of China.”
“The Beijing Center is located on the campus of the University of International Business and Economics (UIBE),” Br. Norman continued. “Situated in the northeastern part of Beijing near expressways, the program is close to the center of the city while at the same time being surrounded by a thriving residential neighborhood. Students are matched up with a UIBE student and have the choice to live with a Chinese roommate. These opportunities allow for significant cultural immersion. Our plan is that our students will begin to take advantage of this opportunity next fall.”
“We have experience working with Jesuit institutions such as Boston College, Georgetown and Loyola,” Mr. Tow explained. “Our mission is to serve the world community. After Br. Norman’s visit last summer, it became obvious that both institutions had a similar view of education and so we are excited to extend the program to this Benedictine college whose students are interested in the benefits of studying in China.”
“We usually enroll 80 to 100 students each semester,” Mr. Tow continued. “They are split into two groups, traveling with 40-50 students at a time. Some stay just one semester and others stay for the entire year to develop their language and get a better understanding of the culture.”
“We offer more than 40 classes taught in English, with subjects including philosophy, history, literature, politics and business. They are similar to classes that are offered in America but they are taught from a Chinese perspective. Our professors include both Chinese and Americans. Class size ranges from 5 to 20 for relatively small classes so that students can participate actively in discussions.”
Funding support is available through external sources from various organizations including the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program, the Freeman Awards for Study in Asia and the Boren Awards for International Study. “There are many opportunities for undergraduate support,” Mr. Tow added.
While on campus, Mr. Tow also met with Dr. Gary Quinlivan, dean of the Alex G. McKenna School of Business, Economics, and Government, who has been an active proponent of Chinese study and traveled to China many times; Dr. Huili Zheng, assistant professor of modern and classical languages, and her elementary and intermediate Chinese classes; Dr. Tina Phillips Johnson, assistant professor of history at Saint Vincent College who also coordinates the activities of the James and Margaret Tseng Loe China Studies Center at Saint Vincent; Dr. Doreen Blandino, chairperson of the modern and classical languages department; Alice Kaylor, dean of studies; Elizabeth Bennellick, director of study abroad at Saint Vincent; and Fr. Rene Kollar, O.S.B., dean of the Saint Vincent College School of Humanities and Fine Arts. Mr. Tow also made a presentation to the East Asian Studies Club.
“I have visited many universities and Chinese studies and language are of great interest everywhere,” he added. “Students are recognizing that in today’s global economy it is important to learn more about China and to be able to travel and work comfortably in a different culture.”
“This is a tremendous opportunity for Saint Vincent students,” Mr. Tow concluded. “Today’s students are aware of the many ways in which United States and China are connected. I think the values of the Center and the Benedictine values of Saint Vincent are a good match that will provide a life-changing experience.”
Photo: Br. Norman W. Hipps, O.S.B., (seated left) president of Saint Vincent College, and Chris Tow of the Beijing Center for Chinese Studies (seated right) met recently on campus to continue with plans to provide an opportunity for Saint Vincent students to study there. Observing the ceremony were, from left, Dr. John Smetanka, vice president for academic affairs and academic dean; Alice Kaylor, dean of studies; Dr. Tina Phillips Johnson, assistant professor of history at Saint Vincent College who also coordinates the activities of the James and Margaret Tseng Loe China Studies Center at Saint Vincent; and Elizabeth Bennellick, director of study abroad at SVC.