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Medaille’s Appeal to Chinese Students Grows
By Lauren Turner
If people outside of Buffalo were asked what they know about the Queen City, it is a safe bet that a few notable things will be mentioned. Some will naturally mention Buffalo’s famous chicken wings, while others might talk about one of the Seven Wonders of the World in Niagara Falls.
For groups of students from China, there is a new aspect of their knowledge of Buffalo as they are part of a wave of international students who are attending Medaille College, which has benefitted from their addition over the past few years.
More Chinese students are making their way to Western New York with the objective of earning their degree here at Buffalo’s College. This surge of international students coming from the Far East continues to contribute to a more diverse and dynamic student demographic at Medaille with each passing year.
“Nowadays, more and more students from Asian countries are willing to pursue a degree in the U.S.,” explained Ruby Cheng, International Admissions Counselor with the Office of Undergraduate Admissions. Cheng participated in the study abroad program at Medaille and is now an active leader in the College’s overseas recruitment. “These students have support from their families, and they are more encouraged to attend a school in the states because the U.S. ranks high in higher education,” she said.
Buffalo has great appeal to international students as a significant hub for travel to other parts of the country. It is centrally located near many U S cities, and let’s not ignore that it is just a 30-minute excursion from the Canadian border. Life on campus and in the City offer ample opportunities for these students to find activities that interest them as they fit into the community. Furthermore, the storied history of Buffalo attracts students to explore the architecture, parks and cultural events.
The College developed a partnership with Dalian- Maritime University (DMU) and is currently in discussion with Shenyang University (SU) for a second agreement. Both universities are located in the Northeastern region of China. In 2008, Dr. Norman Muir, Dean of Undergraduate Student Affairs, toured 20 universities in China. The purpose of the visit was to develop university partnerships and student exchange programs. It was then that DMU and SU became a part of the extended Medaille family.
DMU has two collaborative programs with the College. There is the “2+2” a dual-degree program in English that targets students who spend their first two years of undergraduate study at DMU and then transfer to Medaille for their junior and senior years. . The benefit of this initiative includes earning two bachelor’s degrees, an opportunity to experience cultural immersion in the Western hemisphere and explore what Medaille has to offer.
“Medaille is known for its smaller class population, which draws interest from international students,” Cheng said. Jessie Liu is a prime example of the benefits of the 2+2 program; she is finishing her second year in Buffalo and is attending the University of Southern California in the fall for Graduate School. “Medaille prepared me,” Jessie said. “I like the teachers, they know so much, and they’re really friendly and responsive. If I have any questions, they just help me.”
The second option, the “3+1” program, provides an opportunity for DMU students in their senior year to gain the valuable experience of studying abroad for one academic year. Many students who participate in this program are enrolled in business, psychology and education courses. The experience helps them prepare for graduate school or find a job in the United States to further enhance their cultural immersion experience.
Currently, 16 Chinese students and two Korean students have attended Medaille over the past year. The faculty-student ratio and comprehensive academic support services that Medaille offers really meet their needs. “I always share with students during my recruitment trips that students at Medaille are not just a number, but individuals whom Medaille cares about and values,” Dr. Muir explained.
The benefits of studying at a smaller college can result in more opportunities for the international students to advance their English speaking skills and learn from the personal attention from professors and cross-cultural connections that develop when interacting with Buffalo students. Most students spend their time at Medaille studying English literature, business administration, psychology and biology.
After completing their academic and student life experiences at Medaille, many students will continue to further their education at other American universities. Some will start a career here or back home in China.
“You can’t understand our culture until you leave it,” says Sam (Chengxin) Guo, an international student from Medaille. Guo is from Harbin, China in the Heilongjang province. He is participating in DMU’s 3+1 program, taking psychology courses after study English literature at DMU. He chose the program to help improve his command of the English language and learn about American culture. “New York City isn’t the typical America, but Buffalo is great,” he said.
The instructors were knowledgeable and welcomed class discussions, with
respect for each student's contribution. I've learned how to be a more
effective leader. My capstone class gave insight on how to combine all
the education learned to operate a business. That's when I realized how
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