Lyndon State College is playing host for three weeks to five students from Beijing Foreign Studies University. The students, chosen by the university on the basis of interest and English ability, are all majoring in journalism. The three graduate students and two sophomores are here to attend classes in Lyndon’s award-winning Electronic Journalism Arts (EJA) program and observe how a college in America teaches journalism. The greatest value of the program lies in the students’ opportunity to experience the hands-on daily production of News7 and NewsLINC—student-produced newscasts are rare in Chinese academia.
They arrived on the Lyndon campus on January 20 and are slated to leave February 9. This is the first visit to the United States for all of the students.
The idea for the program was hatched when LSC Journalism Professor Dan Williams gave a guest lecture last year at Beijing Foreign Studies University as part of his year-long Fulbright Scholar stint in China. Williams remained in touch with a professor at the University and sent him a description of LSC’s program last fall. That coincided with a visit by Trevor Barski, the international student specialist in LSC’s Admissions Office. EJA Professor Meaghan Meachem developed the three-week program when she visited Shanghai International Studies University in spring 2013.
The plan came together faster than expected according to Williams: “We were actually surprised when we heard they were sending some students for spring semester. We anticipated schools wouldn’t be able to coordinate everything that quickly.” He hopes to expand the program as well. “We’ve made the program available to two other universities: Xi’an International Studies University, and Shanghai International Studies University.”
The students spent their first weekend sightseeing in New York City. A trip to Burlington, snowboard lessons, and a Chinese New Year celebration are also planned. The students are staying with host families and each of them has a student mentor from the EJA program.
Visiting student Shang Yiran notes that Lyndon’s “professors are so humorous and interesting. Everybody is friendly and sweet.” Wang Siqi finds that “campus life is so different from that in China,” where “classes are more restrictive and structured.”
The program is a good fit for these five students according to Williams, “All of them want to go into journalism after graduation; mostly television. One is interested in magazines. Another cannot make up her mind yet. Plus, it’s cool to be in America.”