Students are becoming teachers this year at the University Wisconsin-River Falls. These Chinese students will be teachers themselves in elementary classrooms.
“We are very excited to learn new things from Americans,” Grace Xiang said.
“We want to take the best things from the U.S., and the best things from China, and make teaching better.”
This hands-on learning opportunity is possible through a partnership between UW-River Falls and Zhejiang International Studies University.
The two institutions have had an international connection for 30 years.
UW-River Falls puts a strong emphasis on studying abroad.
University officials have made it their goal to open doors to more students from around the world.
By 2017, UW-River Falls hopes to be enrolling 147 international students — a goal they already surpassed this year with 150 students.
Blake Fry, special assistant to the chancellor, described the rate of international student enrollment at UW-River Falls in the past five years as a “slow but steady increase.”
This trip abroad was the first time 20-year-old Lan Cao had left China. As with any trip abroad, there are some changes to get used to. “We have more homework here than China,” Lan said.
“And popcorn is salty here; in China, it is sweet.” In her free time, she likes to have fun with friends, go shopping and ride bicycles. Her favorite food so far is a turkey sandwich. After graduation, Lan wants to teach art.
The international exchange offers a fresh perspective on learning for international students and faculty at the university. “I’m really excited about how it’s invigorating the faculty,” instructor Annie Mason said.
The ZISU students are not receiving funding from UW-River Falls for the trip abroad. The Chinese students are paying for their tuition, fees, housing and meals themselves, according to Fry.