Jiujiang University Students Get Taste of North Woods Life During Summer Exchange

A group of 20 students from China’s Jiujiang University spent nearly three weeks in a summer English language and cultural immersion program at Bemidji State University from July 5-22.

During their stay, students spent their mornings in focused English language instruction tailored to their individual skill levels, while afternoons were spent exploring educational, cultural, natural and historic sites and activities around Minnesota. The students visited local farms, art and cultural museums, and visited several of Minnesota’s state parks — including the Mississippi River headwaters at Itasca State Park and the Split Rock Lighthouse on Lake Superior. Evening activities on campus included social events with BSU students and faculty including bonfires, outdoor barbecues, lawn games and outdoor concerts.

Before the group departed on July 22, President Hensrud and Tony Peffer, BSU’s vice president for academic and student affairs, exchanged gifts with Shuai Shiyi, Jiujiang’s director of international studies.

Peffer said he hopes the visit opens the door to a future relationship with Jiujiang University, with possibilities including its faculty visiting BSU as part of the NorthStar Visiting Scholars Academy and BSU faculty teaching at Jiujiang. Students from both universities could travel to take courses for credit at the other, as well.

Jiujiang University, formed in 2006 through a merger of four colleges in Jiujiang, enrolls more than 30,000 students and is one of 25 Chinese Language Education Centers approved by China’s Office of Overseas Chinese Affairs.