Five students from Shandong University of Finance (SUF) in China are among the hundreds of first-time students who moved onto campus this fall. The students, all seniors, are taking classes for the academic year and the first to take advantage of a 2008 agreement for student and faculty exchanges between SUF and UofH.
Just like U of H students who study abroad to benefit from exposure to international classroom culture and student life, these students arrived with to-do lists as well.
Haoping Yu, a finance and banking major from Linyi who likes to cook, says she hopes Japanese friends in the University’s Asian Student Association can teach her how to make sushi.
Shaoting Jiang, from Qingdao, studies English at SUF, “but here I am enrolled in the Barney School because my friends are in Barney. I would like to learn dancing—performance dance maybe and hip hop is good, too.”
Long Huang, from Lin Qing, says he would like to see Wall Street. “I am a finance major so of course that’s the place I’d like to see.”
Also part of the group are Yujie Jiang and Wei Yi, both international economics majors, who are from Jinan.
Samuel Skinner, director of international admission at the University of Hartford, says that the Chinese students are here largely because of Professor Hongwei Jin of SUF. Jin, an associate professor of English, spent the fall of 2009 as a visiting scholar in Hartford. “She promoted the University among her students at SUF.”
In reciprocal fashion, Susan Coleman, a finance professor in the Barney School of Business, was the first faculty member from the University to travel to SUF. On a second trip last spring, she lectured and met with SUF representatives to establish a collaborative entrepreneurial finance course. In the summer of 2011, she will teach a study-abroad course that will take U of H students to China.
“We will visit Beijing, Jinan, and Shanghai,” Coleman says. “I hope our students take back a tremendous appreciation for Chinese culture, Chinese people, and Chinese business.”
Coleman is one of a group of ambassadors involved in bringing Chinese students to campus. Andy Hao, assistant professor of marketing in the Barney School, and Clara Fang, associate professor of civil engineering in the College of Engineering, Technology, and Architecture, were in Beijing and Shanghai this summer speaking with recruiting agents and prospective students.
In addition to her efforts in China, Coleman has revised her business and finance course in the Barney School to include an international component. Students will examine Baidu, China’s version of Google.
“As we move forward, China will be a very important part of the world’s political and economic picture,” Coleman says. “If we can help our students learn about China and establish relationships with its people, we will all be better prepared for the future.”