Chinese delegation visiting UAFS

by The City Wire staff ([email protected]) 46 views 

story and photo submitted by the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith

Three Chinese students are visiting the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith campus through Aug. 13 as part of a cultural immersion program through UAFS and Tianjin University of Technology in Tianjin, China.

Visitors include Joshua Liu, 19, an electronics technology major; Zhikang Tan, 21, a physics major; and Kailun Sun, 21, a mechanical engineering major. They are accompanied by Vincent Li, 29, who works in the International Relations Office at Tianjin University of Technology.

The cultural immersion program is designed to increase the English language skills of the participants, as well as introduce them to American culture and provide them with a taste of Southern hospitality.

Liu, beyond improving his English, said he wanted to see what UAFS is like and to understand how Americans live.

"Everything surprises me," said Liu, telling about his iPad purchase at Best Buy and a visit to a church worship service. "The relationships between people are very friendly here."

Tan called the trip "fantastic" and said there were numerous differences between America and China.

"The landscape here is beautiful," he said, "and there is a very special culture here." He also said he enjoyed sharing different ideas with his host family.

Sun said he also wanted to see what America was like and to view American culture.

"I love the food, and I love Dr. Pepper," he said. He had never tasted Dr. Pepper prior to coming to the U.S.

The visit to Fort Smith is not the first for Li, who came here two years ago, but this trip is a longer one for him.

"The last time I was here for three or four days and met Chancellor (Paul) and Mrs. Beran," said Li, "and that was when an agreement was signed that was the foundation of the student exchange program. This time my stay is longer and I can spend more time and talk to more people."

The visitors have time allocated to culture classes while at UAFS. In addition, they are touring significant historical venues in Fort Smith and Little Rock. They also plan to visit Wal-Mart headquarters and museum in Bentonville, go to Silver Dollar City in Branson, and attend a baseball game. The three students will also sit in on Cub Camp, UAFS’s three-day event for first-time, full-time freshmen.

Planning the excursions for the Chinese students and providing guide services during their stay is Brock Holland of Mountainburg, who serves as an international student and scholar adviser in the UAFS International Relations Office. Holland visited Tianjin University of Technology last year.

Takeo Suzuki, executive director of international relations at UAFS, said the Chinese students were benefiting from the range of activities scheduled while they are here.

"They are learning from their classes while here, from the side trips we planned for them, and from living with local families," said Suzuki. "Being among the American people fosters the greatest growth of the English language. We believe their immersion in our community will have high results for each of them."

UAFS maintains and develops agreements with institutions around the world and currently has partnerships with 18 institutions. These partnerships provide for collaborative research, education-abroad programs, student and faculty exchanges, the sharing of library resources and other opportunities.

Tianjin University of Technology is an engineering-based, multi-discipline institution with more than 19,000 students.