Bluefield College continues to demonstrate its commitment to academic excellence by exposing its students to other cultures and traditions through study abroad.
The most recent global education opportunity included rising junior Andre Fourie of Bluefield, Virginia, who traveled to Nanjing, China in May to participate in study abroad with Jiangsu Second Normal University.
Bluefield College has been exchanging students with Jiangsu Second Normal University since the fall of 2009. Every fall, a group of Chinese students and a professor from Jiangsu spend part of the semester on the BC campus, while every spring Bluefield students travel to China.
“This experience was an eye opener for me,” said Fourie. “Not only did I try a handful of new things, but I went with an open mind, which I highly encourage to future attendees.”
As part of the trip, Fourie explored the cities of Beijing, Shanghai, Nanjing, and Zhenjiang. In Beijing, he toured the Forbidden City and the Great Wall of China, and during his stay in Shanghai he visited The Bund, Shanghai Tower, and the French Quarter.
“The cities were almost similar architecturally; however, the cultures were so different,” said Fourie.
Fourie added that the program gave him a greater understanding of the similarities between his own culture and the Chinese culture. As an added bonus, the study trip featured interactive learning in special topics. As part of that process, Fourie studied and practiced the Chinese language and took part in artistic classes, like calligraphy and Chinese painting.
“I really enjoyed the food and the welcoming atmosphere wherever I went,” said Fourie. “But, most importantly, I enjoyed hanging out at different locations with my new friends, Kevin, Liv, Julia, Sunny, and Leo.”
In addition to its exchange program with Jiangsu Second Normal University in China, Bluefield College offers other exchange and study abroad opportunities in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Italy, Australia, Spain, and Brazil.
“We need to prepare our students to be the global citizens they will be required to be in the 21st century,” said Dr. Maria Zalduondo, director of BC’s global education program. “Travel abroad provides students with the necessary international skills of adaptability, creativity and appreciation for diversity needed in our increasingly globally-minded commercial world.”
CHINA STUDY EXCHANGE: SPRING ’17
Bluefield College student Andre Fourie shares the images from his study trip abroad to Nanjing, China, May 2017.