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From Coastal China to Midwestern Minnesota
Growing up in the coastal city of Qingdao in China's eastern Shandong province affords one the opportunity to taste fresh seafood, view both Chinese and European-style architecture, and enjoy the province's most famous export: Tsingdao beer. This temperate climate provides no exposure nor acclimation to subzero temperatures and multiple inches of snow, both of which were experienced within the first week of their arrival by seventeen Chinese undergraduate students from Qingdao University.
The Mingda Institute for Leadership Training ordinarily provides professional development training to adult groups comprised of Chinese university administrators and professors, businesspeople, and government officials. However, this year the training program is pleased to offer a four-month intensive English language and American culture program that is being held from February 24-June 16, 2014. Students from a diverse range of majors are attending the program, known as the Education for a Global Citizen (EFGC), in order to strengthen their abilities to communicate and write academic papers in English. These improved abilities will be useful if they choose to pursue graduate studies or seek employment in English-speaking countries in the future.
The program offers 12 hours of intensive English writing and presentation classes each week, as well as an American Culture, Society, and Education course. Training is rounded out with academic visits to regional universities and historical and cultural activities, such as a visit to the Minnesota State Capitol and a tour of Target Field. And, of course, no experience in Minnesota is complete without the opportunity to undertake some service learning. The students will be volunteering at a local retirement home in May.