Students Head to China for Cultural Immersion Program

Scholarships from CCI and Sichuan University Keep Trip Under $750 Per Student

Nineteen Kent State University students are in Chengdu, China until July 17 to participate in a cultural immersion program at Sichuan University.

The group consists of 17 College of Communication and Information (CCI) students from the schools of Communication Studies, Journalism and Mass Communication, Visual Communication Design and two students from the College of Arts and Sciences. With scholarships offered by CCI and Sichuan University, students’ out-of-pocket costs for the trip was less than $750 each.

Assistant professor Stephanie Smith, who was recently named the CCI professional-in-residence for global initiatives, is the lead faculty member on the trip.

“CCI and Kent State are represented by an incredibly diverse group of student scholars,” Smith said. “It includes freshmen, sophomores, juniors, seniors and graduate students. One of the students is already in Mandarin language classes; another is studying Buddhism. Some students are veteran travelers having been to Florence, Portugal, Ireland, Poland, France, Japan and Australia. And then, we have some who have never traveled before.”

During the Sichuan University Summer Immersion Program, students will take courses, partner with Chinese and other international students in academic research, learn basic Chinese language, study Chinese traditional culture and visit tourist attractions.

“The students will take two courses over our two-week stay,” Smith said. “For the first week, they can choose a class from an incredible range of courses. We have students studying everything from International Relations and Global Governance, to "The Women Question in British Literature" and "Urban Visual Anthropology."

During their second week, all students will take a pre-selected course from the Sichuan University College of Journalism and Literature. Students will not receive Kent State course credit for these classes.

“I expect to make mistakes, but I also expect to make memories in the process,” said global communication major Jaime Brian. “I have the opportunity to travel the world with my classmates and interact with international students at Sichuan University. I get to travel China on foot instead of from the perch of my living room sofa. I may be a tourist in China, but I am also a tourist in China with a mission. I want to try as many new things as I can. After all, one does not go to China to eat pizza and sit in the hotel room. As a result of this program, I believe I will gain confidence in my ability to adapt to new situations. I also expect to become more tolerant of other cultures. These are skills that last much longer than two weeks. I may be in China for a very short time, but the experiences I have will last a lifetime.”

Students are writing blog posts about their experiences leading up to, during and immediately following the trip at They will also post photos and daily updates on the class Facebook page and other social media networks using #CCIinChengdu.

Sichuan University, ranked the 8th most prestigious university in China, was founded in 1740 with the origin in BCE 141. It is the most comprehensive and largest university in Western China, with more than 70,000 students and 11,000 faculty and staff across all three campuses located in Chengdu. Learn more about this program on the CCI website.

POSTED: Friday, July 1, 2016 - 4:10pm
UPDATED: Tuesday, August 2, 2016 - 9:14pm