Coming this fall, the Centre-in-China program based at Tongji University in Shanghai will see several changes. Most notably, Centre College students will embark on a 12-day travel adventure in Southern China in May and early June as a way of introducing them to the richness and diversity of China before they begin their classes and internships in Shanghai in September.
The introductory adventure will include a river cruise on the Li River, shopping on West Street in Yangshuo, mountain biking along the Yulong River, hiking Moon Hill and visiting the 13th century village of Mushan.
In addition, students will enjoy two additional weekend excursions, to Beijing and Xian, during the course of the semester. They will also change their lodgings to a hotel very close to the university.
According to Centre’s Milton Reigelman, director of the Center for Global Citizenship, the changes result from surveys of current and past students conducted by Derek Capo, founder and CEO of Next Step China, Centre’s educational partner in that country.
“Every year since the Centre-in-China began in Shanghai in fall 2008, it has evolved based on ideas from the 60 Centre students who have participated,” said Reigelman.
“With an eye toward their future careers,” he added, “the students suggested adding an internship in their field of interest and learning enough Mandarin language to allow them to converse with others as they traveled around the city of 24 million and country of 1.4 billion people.”
Based on recent student feedback, adjustments have been made to reduce the actual contact hours for internships and Mandarin study, however, though not at the expense of meeting their internship and language credit hour requirements.
“The Centre-in-China program allowed me to experience a culture wholly unlike my own,” said Hunt VanderToll, a Centre College senior from Prospect, Ky., who studied abroad in Shanghai in 2013. “Living in Shanghai, one of the fastest growing cities in the world, taught me how to be a true global citizen and gave me memories I will never forget.”
Of his intensive study of Mandarin, VanderToll said, “The language skills acquired from classes and immersion have also made me very competitive for potential employers. Centre-in-China is very different from Centre’s other abroad programs and in its distinctiveness, it brings experiences and opportunities that can only be found in the Middle Kingdom.”
A longtime leader in international education, Centre has enjoyed top-5 national rankings for its study abroad programs that see an average 85 percent participation rate by Centre students.
Besides staffing its own long-term, residential programs in France, Mexico and England, Centre offers other semester-long programs like the one in Shanghai. Centre students can also study at similar programs in Reading, England; Yamaguchi, Japan; Glasgow, Scotland; and Northern Ireland.
by Michael Strysick
January 7, 2015
Follow the adventures of Centre students traveling to destinations spanning the globe with #CentreAbroad on social media.