East Meets West
Three of the Chinese students at Longwood - Huili Li, Yanyan Sheng and Jiali Liu - went home after this academic year. The others - Yanbin Ge, Feng Xu, Yuan Xue and Wen Zhuang - will return for one more year at Longwood. Feng and Wen are majoring in international trade, the others in economics. All are considered sophomores since last year was their first year at Anhui; all will return to their home university, from which they will receive their degrees, and all plan to attend graduate school.
They lived in a residence hall and ate in the dining hall. Each took 15 or 16 credit hours in the spring semester, after a 12-hour load in the fall. Several members of the Longwood community, particularly Lonnie Calhoun, director of multicultural affairs and international student services, and student Jennifer Higgins, helped acclimate them to American college life.
Following a custom for Chinese students, each has an American name. Huili is Lee, Yanyan is Apple, Jiali is Jolie, Yanbin is Persephone, Feng is Iris, Yuan is Vivian, and
Wen is Tracy.
Very few college students in China have a car; most families have only one car, and it's a sign of wealth for a college student to own a car, they say. "Lots of students have bicycles. We have bicycles just like the students here have cars," says Huili.
Interestingly, Wen attended the same secondary school in Shanghai as National Basketball Association (NBA) star
The students visited Washington, D.C., during fall break and New York City over the winter break, accompanied by Lonnie Calhoun. In New York they saw the Statue of Liberty and the Empire State Building, went window-shopping on Fifth Avenue and visited 42nd Street. In Washington they toured the U.S. Capitol, saw the White House (from the outside) and visited museums. Over the winter break they stayed in the homes of faculty and staff members.
The Chinese history and culture course for Longwood students at Anhui, from May 15 to June 4, was co-taught by Dr. Geoffroy de Laforcade, assistant professor of history, and an Anhui professor. The students, each of whom was paired with a Chinese "buddy" from Anhui, learned some conversational Chinese, history, art and literature (in English translation), and they took trips to Yellow Mountain (one of China's most famous scenic spots), Nanjing and Shanghai.
Anhui University of Technology has about 12,000 undergraduates and a total enrollment numbering 20,000. Its most popular majors include accounting, English, math, computer science and engineering. The university, founded as a joint venture between the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Metallurgy, is known in China for its "applied, practical research in engineering and science, particularly related to steel," says Dr. William Dorrill, a former Longwood president and China specialist who helped launch the exchange program. Ma'anshan - Chinese for "Horse Saddle Mountain" - which isn't a big city by Chinese standards (population: 350,000), is in east-central China some 50 miles up the Yangtze River from Nanjing, formerly Nanking, China's ancient capital. Ma'anshan is known for its heavy industry but is a clean city, says Dr. Dorrill.
In October 2003 Dr. Dorrill and Dr. John Reynolds, Longwood's director of international affairs, initiated the exchange by going to Anhui, where they met with the university's president, Dr. Dong Yuanchi. Anhui's vice president for teaching and research, Dr. Chen Dahong, visited Longwood in March 2004 to complete the paperwork for the agreement. Dr. Dorrill returned to Anhui last October along with Dr. Lily Goetz, Longwood's acting director of international affairs (Dr. Reynolds is in Austria on a sabbatical this academic year). Dr. Dorrill and Dr. Goetz also attended a conference in Beijing and visited U.S. consular officials there and in Shanghai about expediting visa applications for Chinese students who want to study in the United States.