Institute for Study Abroad Programs director leads trip to Nagasaki and Wuhan
PLATTEVILLE - The University of Wisconsin-Platteville director of the Institute for Study Abroad Programs (ISAP), Donna Anderson, recently led a 10-day familiarization trip through two study abroad programs offered by ISAP. Irina Krymova, assistant director of study abroad for the University of Illinois-Chicago (UIC), accompanied Anderson on the trip. They visited the Nagasaki, Japan, and Wuhan, China, programs to become familiar with them, on-site staff and each other. The trip mirrored the study abroad student's experience as closely as possible, so Anderson and Krymova could better understand what students go through during the arrival process as well as on campus and around the city. They wanted to be able to speak to students and parents with exact knowledge of what a student's experience would be like in the programs.
They arrived in Fukuoka, Japan, on a Tuesday evening, and walked through the procedures that a student would in the Nagasaki program. This would allow them to speak precisely to students about arrival conditions, and they were very pleased with the experience.
On Wednesday, they traveled to Nagasaki by bus. Their day consisted of a meeting with the president of the Nagasaki University of Foreign Studies, lunch with the faculty and a lecture on the history of Nagasaki. On Thursday, they took a tour of the city, which included visiting the Peace Park, Atomic Bomb Museum and an early Dutch settlement, among other destinations. They used public transportation, as would be expected of a study abroad student in the program.
On Friday, they met with about half of the UWP students currently studying abroad in Nagasaki. A total of 17 students participated in the program at Nagasaki during the fall 2006 semester, four of them UWP students and 13 of them came through UWP from other universities to participate in the program. Anderson and Krymova asked the students they met for feedback regarding the conditions of the program, specifically about arrival, orientation, classes, housing, money management and daily living. They planned to use this input to make improvements to the program and share students' experiences with other students interested in studying abroad in Nagasaki.
On Saturday, Anderson and Krymova departed Fukuoka and arrived in Shanghai, China. Students would normally arrive in Shanghai before proceeding to the South Central University for Nationalities (SCUN) in Wuhan, China. Shanghai is known as an international city, and it is relatively easy to navigate through the airport since most signs are in English. It offers a taste of modern China, and the visitors toured the city on Saturday and Sunday, including Old Street, Yuan Gardens, the BUND (an area running along the Huangpu river that was settled by Europeans), Peace Hotel and Shanghai Museum (the most comprehensive museum in China, established in 1952).
Tom Jonas dining with a faculty member and students at the South Central University for Nationalities in Wuhan, China
Anderson and Krymova made their way to Wuhan on Sunday and met up with Tom Jonas, of Platteville. Tom and his wife, Pat, currently live and work as representatives for two UWP programs at SCUN. Tom serves as the on-site program coordinator for students coming to SCUN through ISAP's Ethnic Minority Culture's Study Abroad Program, established in spring 2006. Pat serves as the on-site coordinator of UWP's master's program at SCUN in teaching English as a second language, whereby Chinese students receive instruction from UWP English and education faculty.
By Monday, they were ready to tour the SCUN campus. The library, International Residence Hall, study abroad facilities and ethnic minority museum were part of their tour of the campus. On Tuesday, they visited the study abroad classes, international affairs staff and the six UWP students currently studying at SCUN. That night, they departed Wuhan for Beijing.
In Beijing, Anderson and Krymova took a bus tour with Chinese tourists. The tour included visits to the Great Wall, Ming Tombs, a jade factory and a traditional Chinese medical clinic. At the clinic, the physicians read their pulses to determine any medical conditions. Anderson's physician predicted that she was healthy but not sleeping well, which was true due to her tight travel schedule. For patients with medical conditions, the physicians would offer remedies on the spot. Chinese hospitals typically offer longer stays and cheaper services than U.S. hospitals, and regular treatments might include acupuncture and meditation.
Before departing back to the U.S. on Thursday, Anderson and Krymova experienced Pearl Market, a three-story building where prices fluctuate and buyers must bargain for the best prices. The goal of each booth at the market is to establish a relationship between buyer and seller and negotiate the prices on goods. This is a common procedure in Chinese markets.
"I was very impressed by the dedication and commitment of staff in both locations: Nagasaki and Wuhan. I feel very confident that UIC students will receive everything they need while studying at these locations. I look forward to working with ISAP to send UIC students to Nagasaki and Wuhan," Krymova said.
Overall, Anderson and Krymova considered the familiarization trip worthwhile to increasing their abilities to spread the word about these study abroad opportunities and establishing relationships between each other and with the various staff associated with the Nagasaki and Wuhan study abroad programs. Because of this trip, they will be able to offer more accurate information to interested students about the travel and accommodation conditions as well as about how to prepare for the program.
"The familiarization trip was extremely valuable. We hope to offer more in the future so that study abroad advisors and faculty from other sending institutions can learn more about our programs abroad," Anderson concluded.