Volume 47, Number 13 - March 1, 2010

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Laurie Charles
Laurie Charles
Staff Writer

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Picture of warrior
MADE IN CHINA: A terracota warrior stands in a glass display case as part of the Terracotta Army in Xi'an, one of many locations Miami Dade College study abroad students will be able to visit.

Study abroad takes students to China

By Laurie Charles

Michael Jitta has never traveled outside of the United States, but thanks to Miami Dade College’s Study Abroad Program, that will soon change.

Jitta, an 18-year-old business administration major, is among fifteen students that have been selected to participate in the program. The project will last from May 7- June 6. It will be based at the Shanghai Lixin University of Commerce in Shanghai, China and will offer experiences in every aspect of China, from academic to cultural.

"This will be a brand new experience for me being that I've never been out of the country," Jitta said. "It's a trip worth making for the sake of education and fun."

Students in the program will attend introductory courses in macro and microeconomics.

The program was open to students with at least a 2.5 grade point average. Students were selected based on GPA, a letter of interest, a letter of recommendation from an MDC professor and an interview.

Dr. Robert Foran, the founder of the China Study Abroad program and an economics professor at the Wolfson Campus, said that the program was designed for business and non-business majors alike.

“Although macro and micro economics are requirements for all business majors, we wanted to attract all majors, especially those in the sciences and mathematics,” Foran said.

The main focus of the program is academics. Class time lasts about eight hours a day, consisting of lectures, group assignments, and individual assignments.

“The classes are more intense, but my responsibilities are solely to the group,” Foran said. “Also, students will only need to focus on the classes.”

Apart from academics, students will also have the opportunity to attend the World Business Expo, where they will see first-hand the new products and services that are being introduced by the fast-growing Chinese economy.

“It will be a great experience for students to see the cutting-edge market,” Foran said.

Activities such as city tours, cooking lessons, Tai Chi, and ink painting, will give students a genuine cultural experience.

The students will also visit the Terracotta Warriors in the city of Xian. The Terracotta Warriors are stone statues that resemble an actual army; 8,000 workers built them in order to protect Emperor Qinshihuang in the afterlife.

The trip costs $3,715, including flight, shared dorms, student visa, insurance and most meals. Students have to pay separately for tuition and for the required text book.

Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) majors attending the trip can apply for The Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship, a grant exclusively for international studies, which awards up to $5,000 for the summer semester, and up to an additional $3,000 for critical languages, such as Chinese.

Only STEM majors are eligible to apply for the summer term. However, all majors can apply during the fall and spring terms.

Although the 15 students have already been selected for summer 2010, a waiting list remains open.

“We expect and hope to hold the program for next year,” Foran said. “Although we have already chosen the students for this summer, those who are interested in participating next year have the time to prepare financially and academically.”

China is just one of 30 countries where MDC students have studied.

“The students we have chosen to study in China are from all over the world: Egypt, Venezuela, Columbia, Brazil, Chile and the Dominican Republic,” Foran said. “They are a representation of the population at MDC.”

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