Confucius Institute at Texas A&M University Prepares Record Number of Students for China

Date: 8/21/2013

The Confucius Institute (CI) at Texas A&M University has played an important role preparing students going to China for study since 2008.  This year, a record 162 Aggies went to China for study abroad or service learning experiences; this is an increase of 134 percent since 2008.
In collaboration with Texas A&M and as part of a mandate to help better prepare students and the citizens of Texas for a global future, the CI continues to look for ways in which it can support and enhance Study Abroad programs going to China by providing more opportunities on campus for students to learn about China’s rich history, society, literature and culture.
As the number of students going to China continues to grow, so does the demand for appropriate pre-trip language and cultural orientation. The Confucius Institute seeks to meet that demand by offering all students and faculty a free “Crash Course in Chinese” prior to departure for China, where they can learn rudimentary survival Chinese.  Additionally, Confucius Institute Director, Kelly Kleinkort, offered tailored orientations to several departments on campus, presenting to more than 70 students and faculty as they prepared for a summer in China. 
While some of these trips focus on language learning, more departments in the STEM fields are adding study abroad in China to their menu of international programs.  The College of Engineering offered three faculty led study abroad programs to China in the summer of 2013, including nuclear and chemical engineering and industrial distribution. Through these programs, students receive invaluable professional interaction with international industry partners through projects and internships. 
 “Regardless of where you plan to live,” Kleinkort tells students during her orientation sessions, “and no matter what your future profession will be, you need to learn how to successfully engage with China and the Chinese.”
Kleinkort believes that while becoming a linguist is meaningful, more companies are looking for students that can successfully work beyond cultural confines in a highly globalized marketplace.
“China is a world player and our students need to be educated on how to engage with her,” said Kleinkort.
The CI serves as a resource for the entire university community to strengthen educational ties with China and through its programs and support, hopes to continue preparing students for a global future.

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