Chinese exchange students visit campus for Winter Arts Workshop

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Photo credit/ Brielle Mayle

Songe Yang, one of the 31 Chinese students visiting Marywood, takes a picture while on a trip to New York City sponsored by the University

Mackenzie Warren, Asst. News Editor

Just in time for the Chinese New Year, Marywood welcomed 31 Chinese exchange students for a three-week Winter Arts Workshop.

The workshop, which began on January 22 and ran through February 11, was dedicated to getting the exchange students more involved with the arts of a different culture. Over the course of the three weeks, the students sat in on classes, took trips off campus, attended local theater, and learned some things for their own major.

According to Nancy Maloney, assistant director for international affairs, this is a brand new program that Marywood started this year. The students came from five different schools in China and are all art, drama, sculpture, architecture, and communication art majors.

Ann Boland-Chase, vice president for enrollment management, said that over the last few months, the US-China Cultural and Educational Foundation worked with Marywood University to create the Winter Arts Workshop and make contact with representatives at universities in China.

“One of our faculty members in the music department, Dr. David Romines, is a member of the Board of Directors of the US-China Cultural and Educational Foundation, so he was instrumental in making the original contact with the foundation,” said Boland-Chase. “We were privileged to welcome dignitaries from several universities to our campus last year for initial discussions.”

Members of the university administration are currently reviewing the program and making decisions about whether the program will continue next year, noted Boland-Chase.

“I believe that these types of exchanges benefit not only those visiting our campus, but the Marywood community as well, and the program is in alignment with the university’s mission and curricular goals,” said Boland-Chase.

“Most of the time in things like art classes or painting classes, [the exchange students] are watching it and taking part in it. They are also doing their own work. I believe they are going to give us some kind of demonstration at the end of their program,” said Maloney.

Boland-Chase said that the Chinese students have special classes set up for them at Marywood to talk about American culture, history, literature, etc. Some of the students are a cohort, or a group of students who share similar majors.

“They have two people accompanying them, both of whom are both fluent in Chinese and English. One is a study abroad adviser from one of the universities and the other is from the US-China Cultural and Educational Foundation, Dr. Song,” said Boland-Chase.

Boland-Chase added that the deans from the School of Architecture and the Insalaco College of Creative and Performing Arts, Mr. Gregory Hunt and Mr. Collier Parker, who are involved with the program, were to contact their respective departments and select courses that had room in them so the students could sit in on without the classes becoming over-crowded.

The Chinese students stayed in various open dormitories on campus. In some cases, Marywood students offered to host a Chinese student in their dorm room.

“We put out a call to students to host,” said Boland-Chase. “Some of the students have an empty bed in their suite and volunteered to be a host.”

Boland-Chase said that the students seem to be blending into the environment and to the American culture, though there have been some adjustments to make, including with meals. Overall, she said, they seem to be enjoying their time here.

Brielle Mayle, senior communication arts major, has been helping the Chinese students make their way around campus. She is in the process of creating a promotional documentary that will be used globally for the US-China Cultural and Educational Foundation using the Chinese students that visited Marywood.

“I met the head of the Chinese Education Foundation of China. I contacted Dr. Song, who I had met previously on a tour. He loved the idea that I was going to shoot a documentary of them. So, for the past two weeks I have been shooting them in class interacting with other students and at the gym,” said Mayle.

Mayle also added that interacting with the students was a fun experience and she even learned a little bit of the language.

“It was a worldly experience for Scranton, Pennsylvania,” said Mayle. “I was really nervous about how I would communicate with them. I didn’t want to bother the translator every two seconds, but some of them knew some English and they would all help each other.”

The exchange students were asked to perform an assessment about their stay on campus before they left. The assessments  will serve as a guide to Marywood about future programs they plan to host.

Xu He, senior drama major, was one of the exchange students. He said that he  loved the experience.

“We are enjoying being here. It’s excellent,” he said. “We just think about the American culture and the difference there is from China. We love the American life.”