The College of Education and Human Development is expanding its global outreach through a new collaboration with the Ocean University of China (OUC). Five master’s students from OUC’s College of Foreign Languages are spending one semester visiting the Texas A&M campus auditing courses and interacting with students.
The goal for the OUC is to establish a new program that can allow selected students to obtain academic and cultural experience while working on various projects that will contribute to their master’s thesis. The students are auditing both undergraduate and graduate courses in ESL methods, reading and English literature providing them an opportunity to attend English-medium lectures and interact with American students.
Subsequently, Texas A&M students gain the opportunity to create partnerships and learn more about language education and have a cross-cultural experience through interaction with Chinese students. The program’s goal and the faculty aim is that the partnerships and collaboration continues after the students return to China.
Each OUC student has a conversation partner who is a native speaker of English. “This provides them opportunities to not only practice speaking English in academic and social contexts, but build lifelong relationships,” said Dr. Kisha Bryan, clinical professor of English as a second language. The students attend athletic events, performing arts events and other events in the community.
“They have participated in my courses by providing pre-service teachers insight into the complexities of learning English as a second or even third language,” said Dr. Bryan. The visit was also a learning experience for faculty as the students taught them about the Chinese education system and their perspectives on learning culture and language. “Intercultural and academic collaborations and interactions between the OUC students and other students promote global understanding and appreciation for cultural and linguistic diversity,” said Dr. Zohreh Eslami, professor of English as a second language.
“They have confidence in our program and our faculty. Together with the past several years’ successful training that we provided to high school English teachers from China, OUC’s College of Foreign Languages also knows that we promote international collaborations with a welcoming and friendly environment,” said Dr. Yeping Li, professor and director of the International Education Research and Development Group. He hopes continued success of these programs will open the door to more collaboration with groups in China.