Studying Abroad: Open the door, See the world

On September 14th, a group of Chinese delegation came to Eastern New Mexico University for a potential collaboration. They came from Guangdong University of Science and Technology (GDUST). This delegation consists of Vice President, Dr. Zhiyang Liu, Vice Dean of the International Education College at GDUST, Mr. Shuiping Huang and interpreter, Ms. Zhulan Zhao. They stayed for a short time, visiting ENMU facilities, and meeting many students and staff.

Chinese students are seen around the campus every year, but many students are unaware of how these transfer students come to ENMU, let alone what kind of exchange programs we have offer.

How Chinese students get started Christy Czerwien, International Student Advisor in ENMU, explains that all Chinese students who come for a bachelor’s degree currently, come through an exchange agreement. “The agreements that we have with other Chinese universities are either two-party or three-party agreements.” Said Ms. Czerwien. The two-party agreements are a signed partnership agreement directly with universities in China. The three-party partnership agreements have been signed between three parties: ENMU, World American Cultural Exchange Program (WACE), and a university in China.”

Through WACE, most Chinese students came to ENMU through three-party partnership agreements. WACE is a non-profit organization and member of the Association of American College and Universities. Their mission is to provide creative, high-quality cultural and educational programs that enhanced knowledge and experience of another culture or society on both a personal and community level while providing a platform for the development of these relationships. Director of International Department at WACE, Wukang Li, said “The platform provided by WACE benefits two countries and people for their education, international investment, trade, technology, products and economic development. WACE members are countrywide.” Also, he pointed out, “It’s important to establish relationships which foster a healthy interchange of ideas, values and commerce between world communities.” He believed that these relationships, established across geographic, political and cultural lines, produce exciting results as they enhance understanding, perception and tolerance. Mr. Li added, “There is no better way for these relationships to flourish than through personal contact and learning, whether in a classroom, an office or a home where issues, ideas and viewpoints can be expressed with openness and respect.”

Why this program

Although most Chinese students come to the States though this program, they don’t know much about the details. “Students in China can apply for this program, then the universities will assess the applicants. They will go to America for either 1 or 2 years exchange program,” said, Xiangdong Wang. Wang oversees exchange students in the Beijing area. “Both universities in China and America admit credits from each other. After finishing study in the States, students need to go back to China and graduate according to the requirements in their original universities, such as thesis defense,” added Mr. Wang.

For many exchange students, this program offers the chance to earn a dual diploma within a short period. In addition, they are not required to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), which is commonly required for non-English international students who wish to seek educational opportunities in English speaking countries. “I chose this program because it doesn’t require the TOEFL test, ” admitted one Chinese student, “I want to study aboard, but I don’t have enough time to prepare the test.” In addition, this program can assist with tuition, fees and living expenses for students, which is another big reason students go this route.

According to Mr. Li, there are hundreds Chinese universities participating in the 1-2-1/2+2 dual diploma program through WACE or other agencies in China. Mr. Li also said there are 30 universities in America collaborating with WACE; From Ivy League schools, like Harvard and Yale, to state universities, such as University of Texas at Austin and University of Washington.

ENMU and exchange students

Eastern New Mexico University signed the agreement of Sino-American Dual Degree Program in 1998. ENMU was the first American university to collaborate with WACE and a Chinese university. However, according to Assistant Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dr. Neely, “The first significant group of students from China arrived in 2004. We have admitted 17 students for the Fall 2015 semester, but only 15 actually came. We also received 19 students in the Fall 2014 semester. Most of the new students come in the fall semester, but we do sometimes get a small handful of students coming in the spring semesters.”

Chinese students at ENMU come from nine universities, including as Sichuan University, University of Electronic Science and Technology of China and China Youth University for Political Sciences. According to WACE records WACE records, every year between 8 and 30 students come to ENMU. “It is the best for Chinese students to complete their undergraduate programs at ENMU, as ENMU offers small class and much lower cost with higher quality undergraduate programs than most top 100 universities in the United States.” Mr. Li indicated, “But, most Chinese students choose their higher education in the United States by the rank so ENMU is not their first choice.”

The convenience of the TOEFL waiver also brings some disadvantages, the average time frame for Chinese students studying is two to four years. There are some circumstances where Chinese students cannot complete their courses in one to two years. “Some students need to take ALC English courses and that delays graduation,” Ms. Czerwien explained. “Students have to take required coursework in their majors or General Education courses, which they did not take at their universities in China.” Ms. Czerwien added, “A few Chinese students who graduated, decided to stay and study in a graduate program at ENMU.”

A broader world

Apart from WACE and Chinese students, there are many other exchange students from other countries, such as Mexico, Brazil, South Korea and Spain.

“Our other exchange programs are through the CONAHEC Student Exchange Program.” Mr. Czerwien said. The CONAHE, Consortium for North American Higher Education Collaboration, is also a non-profit membership-based network of approximately 180 institutions of higher education in Canada, the United States and Mexico, as well as a select group of institutions from other parts of the world. Dean of the Liberal Arts and Sciences College at ENMU,

Dr. Mary Ayala, serves as one of the CONAHEC Board of Directors. Universities who belong to the CONAHEC network have signed tuition reciprocity agreements. “These students have studied in Spain, Finland and South Korea the last few years. Ms. Czerwien elaborated, “They pay tuition and fees to their home university and not to the host university.” For instance, if an ENMU student wants to study abroad at Reykjavik University in Iceland, he or she would pay tuition and fees to ENMU, not to Reykjavik University. Yet an ENMU student could then use his or her financial aid to pay for tuition and fees while studying abroad.

Therefore, ENMU students also have the opportunity to study abroad via CONAHEC program. The CONAHEC network contains many universities all over the world, including Canada, Mexico, Finland, Iceland and Spain. “The majority of the universities require that students be proficient in the language of the country that they wish to visit. A few of the universities in non-English speaking countries do have coursework available in English, as well as foreign language courses,” said Ms. Czerwien. She also pointed out that international students are also eligible to study abroad, but they can only study for one semester due to visa restrictions.

Mr. Li argued that both institutions and students benefit from exchange program. “American students can know Chinese people, Chinese culture and more about China without to travel to China.” Ms. Czerwien also believed the diversity is beneficial to both the international and domestic students on campus. “We greatly value our exchange agreements with other institutions. In order to help create a global citizenship, it is important to foster and encourage diversity on our ENMU campus.”

That is, ENMU opens the door and helps people see a broader world.

The following countries have universities in the CONAHEC network:

United States Canada Mexico Argentina Bolivia Brazil Burkina Faso Chile Colombia Dominican Republic Ecuador Finland Guatemala Iceland South Korea Spain

Study Abroad Eligibility Requirements


1. Students must have completed 60 credit hours by the intended semester abroad.

2. Students may not do study abroad in their final semester.

3. Some study abroad programs may require proficiency in the language of the host country or require students to study the language of the host country.

Graduate students:

1. Must be cleared by the Graduate School, due to limitations in transfer hours.

2. May not do study abroad in the final semester.

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