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In May, faculty of Arizona State University's School of International Letters and Cultures — including Professors Stephen West, Xiaoqiao Ling, Juan Pablo Gil-Osle and director Nina Berman — visited four universities in China to discuss collaboration. Under discussion were student exchange programs, faculty exchanges, joint conferences, a study-abroad program in Beijing, and a summer school hosted by the school's Chinese faculty.
Degree programs are already in development, such as a 2+2 program with the Spanish department at Northeastern University in Shenyang. In addition to Northeastern University, the School of International Letters and Cultures delegation met with colleagues and administrators from East China Normal University in Shanghai, Beijing Normal University and Renmin University in Beijing.
Berman said she was excited by the considerable range of opportunities. Exchange programs specifically would increase the number of ASU students studying abroad by creating affordable options. While faculty exchanges and visiting scholar programs would raise the profile of the School of International Letters and Cultures and ASU, 2+2 programs with Spanish and English departments have the potential to bring significant numbers of students to ASU.
Chinese colleagues expressed a strong interest in the school's reputable Chinese program, which may recruit graduate students into the planned summer school or inspire them to pursue an MA at ASU. In addition, through its abundant resources in Chinese studies, the school can provide support for colleagues from other units who want to engage with China and also for visiting scholars from China.
One notable fact: Chinese students who pursue a degree in foreign languages study abroad at a very high rate, between 75 percent and 100 percent. Overall, Chinese students in all areas are encouraged to study abroad, with a 25 percent to 30 percent participation rate at the universities visited during this trip.