BC Students Study Abroad in China
As part of its ongoing academic and cultural exchange with the country and people of China, Bluefield College sent four students and a professor to study and teach at the Jiangsu Institute of Education in May 2012.
August 22, 2012
Bluefield College students prepare to trek the Great Wall of China as part of a spring study trip abroad.
For the sixth semester in a row, students and teachers from the two schools shared history, language, tradition and time with one another as part of the international exchange program that began in the fall of 2009 with a Chinese delegation from Jiangsu visiting BC. Since then, the two schools have continued the fall-spring swap with the latest phase taking Bluefield students T.J. Huff, Morgan Lloyd, Corey Royal and Rachael Stairs, along with Professor Emily Lambert to Jiangsu.
“It was very interesting,” said Dr. Lambert about her involvement in the study trip to China. “We learned and experienced a lot of new things. China has an amazing history. It was really cool to know we were walking on the same ground that some of the most famous emperors and rulers ever stood.”
The BC group toured Beijing, Shanghai and Nanjing, learning much about the history of China. They visited The Great Wall of China, The Forbidden City, The Jade Buddha Temple, The Summer Palace, The Temple of Heaven, Tiananmen Square, Confucius Temple, Yue Gardens, and Chinatown. They also explored Chinese art schools, gardens and factories, including the largest Bible printing factory in the world.
“I need to have my students study more about other countries and nations, so that they know how things work in other parts of the world,” said Dr. Lambert about the glimpse the BC students had of the way the Chinese live. “I think it is important for students to learn what other countries are doing right and what we as Americans can incorporate into our lives to help us and society live more richly.”
At the Jiangsu Institute of Education, the BC students took classes on Chinese history and culture, where they learned much about Chinese customs, etiquette, clothing and food. They also studied Chinese art, calligraphy, and Kung Fu. Through it all, they learned how gracious the Chinese people are.
“You cannot truly understand how welcoming the Chinese are until you experience it first-hand,” said Dr. Lambert. “I was told repeatedly that the people of this country would exceed my expectations, but I did not realize by how much until I was immersed with their gracious love.”
As part of the exchange, Dr. Lambert offered lectures to students at Jiangsu. A professor of biology at BC, she shared “America’s Contributions to the Field of Microbiology” to a group of biology students. During other sessions, she spoke about “Life in Appalachia,” particularly the history, resources, tourism and stereotypes of the region. She also taught an English course, shared American music interests, and provided a presentation on the national parks of the United States.
“All people on Earth share certain human characteristics,” said Dr. Lambert. “We are all affectionate with the ones we love. We all enjoy laughing and being happy, and we all feel sad when we have to leave a friend behind. Although we share these common traits, we are still very different. The difference in our cultures, lifestyles, homes, and foods are as large as the distance between our countries. This is something to embrace. From this experience, I learned to step out of my comfort zone and try new things. I am very thankful I did, because I was truly blessed by getting to experience this new world.”
During informal gatherings with the Chinese students, the BC visitors learned more about Chinese food, fashion, and etiquette. They also spent time together in the city of Nanjing and played baseball and basketball.
“I definitely recommend a trip like this for students,” said Dr. Lambert. “It will give them a chance to see how people live outside of Virginia, Appalachia, and America. It will give them a new perspective on their lives and a better appreciation for what they have.”
As part of Bluefield College’s mission to prepare globally-minded students who think critically, communicate effectively and adapt readily to a changing world, the academic exchange with Jiangsu is designed to “promote educational cooperation,” “friendly ties,” and “mutual benefits.” Furthering that goal, BC will host four Chinese students and a Chinese professor from the Jiangsu Institute of Education this fall. Students interested in a return trip to China in the spring of 2013 should contact Dr. Lambert by phone at 276-326-4292 or by e-mail at .