NMU has entered into an agreement with a Chinese university that has allowed several international students to continue their education at NMU.
This semester, 22 students from China have become full-time Northern students as a part of a program that allows them to take their first two years of college in China before coming to America to finish their baccalaureate degrees. Capital University in Beijing, the school where 21 of the students were previously enrolled, established an exchange of credits between the two schools.
Rehema Clarken, of NMU’s Office of International Programs, described it as a “two plus two” agreement. She said that both the university and the international students benefit from the exchange.
“It’s a win-win situation, because the Chinese students can stay in their home country for two years but still graduate with a U.S. degree,” Clarken said. “It’s also good for our Chinese language class here because those students can now have language partners.”
She said that the students will benefit from their experiences at NMU, because the education they will receive will complement what they have already learned.
“These students will have a unique perspective, because they will have spent time in both Chinese and U.S. universities,” Clarken said. “They’ll know the best and worst of both worlds. They’ll be able to get jobs both in China and America and be able to understand the intricacies of international politics and business that others students might not.”
The program of exchange with Capital University is expected to continue, said Clarken. She also said that her department would like to see similar programs extended to other countries in the future.
“We hope that NMU will have many more programs such as this one and that this one will continue on into the future,” she said. “We’re interested in doing this sort of ‘two plus two’ program with other universities and countries such as India.”
Clarken said that the Office of International Programs worked closely with College of Business and the Registrar’s Office to ensure a successful transfer of credits for the students, who are seeking degrees in business.
NMU’s English department has also been active in assisting the international students adjust to American college classes. Z.Z. Lehmberg, an English professor and the advisor of NMU’s Writing Center, said that she has assisted the students by establishing tutoring sessions and by helping them with practical issues like getting groceries and setting up bank accounts.
Lehmberg said that NMU’s English department has increased its funding for tutoring and arranged tutors through the Writing Center. She said that tutoring sessions have been beneficial for the international students.
“From what the students have told me, the tutoring has helped them tremendously,” she said. “In addition to helping the students with their writing and reading, the tutors are also functioning as a friend.”
Lehmberg said that beyond the tuition dollars new students bring in, the international students offer something more.
“The university is benefitting because of … the diversity presented by the students,” she said. “For example, the tutors are learning something about the Chinese culture, and even their own language, English, from the students.”
Xu Liu, a senior marketing major from Beijing, said that he has made use of the additional help offered by the tutors. Liu said that despite finding communication in the classroom to be challenging at times, he has enjoyed his time at NMU so far, due to its natural surroundings and the pleasant community.
“It has been exciting because I’m new here,” Liu said. “I like the air here and people are very kind.”