International Students Embrace Bellevue
Welcome to Bellevue! International Students Embrace Bellevue
By Dan Silvia, Communications Manager
Even through some winter months that were a bit chillier than they’re used to, the 83 students that are a part of an exchange program between Bellevue University and Guangzhou College of Commerce have received a warm reception from faculty, staff and the Bellevue community. In turn, the students have embraced their American college experience enlivening classrooms and campus events.
With a 100 percent retention rate, the program has exceeded expectations.
“I think that’s really positive,” said Bellevue University President Dr. Mary Hawkins. “I think that the faculty, staff, and community have been very welcoming. The students have been polite, and friendly with a good sense of humor. They’ve just been fun to work with.”
The Guangzhou students are enrolled in the Supply Chain and Logistics Management and International Business programs. Teaching international students is nothing new for Bellevue University faculty members, but the concentrated number of students opens up new challenges and opportunities.
“The language and culture have been big challenges, but I think that this has helped me to become a better instructor,” said Dr. David Levy, a veteran professor in the College of Business. “Also, understanding the academic foundation that the students have and their learning process and then adapting my teaching to match this has been a challenge, but I also consider it an opportunity to improve my overall teaching techniques. Teaching them has given me a chance to interact with students who are here because they want to learn and experience America. I have had many enjoyable discussions with several of the students. This has been a great learning experience for me to understand more about the Chinese culture.”
The retention rate speaks to the students’ satisfaction with the program.
“I love the people. They are very kind. The teachers and advisors have helped us very much. This has been a good experience,” said student Ashley Lin. “It was a challenge at the beginning learning and studying in a completely different language.”
One area that still needs a little work – the food.
“Our favorite food is what we cooked,” student Sky Tan, said with a smile. “American Chinese food -- It tastes very sweet. The food is always sweet. Too sweet for us.”
Something to work on before the next fall when an additional 100 students from China will arrive.
“I think both the Chinese and Indian students that have come on campus have had the impact that I had hoped for,” Hawkins said. “It reminds us all of how much fun it is to have students around. Reinvigorating campus with students here is a good thing for all of us. Seeing the student center full, seeing them at the game or the matches -- I just enjoy it a lot.”
The exchange with Guangzhou is part of an effort to increase on-campus enrollment to 2,000 students. A number of other initiatives are in the planning stages to further bolster those numbers.
“We’ve got several groups brainstorming ideas,” Hawkins said. “I think it’s continuing to build incrementally. More students, more services. We’ll be cost effective and we’ll stay with our mission. We’re trying to make spaces and opportunities to do good work on campus.”