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Asia and China Opportunities Expand for Georgia Students

Post Series: 2006: Volume 5, Number 1
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Asia and China Opportunities Expand for Georgia StudentsNot long ago, Georgia students had to look far afield to get to China for short study courses. No more. Georgia’s state and private universities now have numerous programs with a wealth of subject choices for students. This past spring and summer at least seven different programs took over 100 students to China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and other destinations in Asia.

With a comparative development focus, Georgia Tech Professor and China specialist John Garver led a new program on East Asia hitting all of greater China as well as Japan. Organized around the concept of an “East Asian developmental state,” the 6-week program studied the development paths of Japan, Taiwan, Mainland China, and Hong Kong. Beginning with a week in Japan under the direction of Georgia Tech professor and eminent authority on Japan’s political economy, Dr. Brian Woodall, the program first studied Japan’s post-Meiji and post-WW II developmental experience. The group then traveled by ship to Kaohsiung, stopping en route in Naha and Ishigaki in the Ruyuku archipelago. Intensive classes were held aboard ship while at sea.

A week in Kaohsiung and a week in Taipei integrated classes by Professor Garver and National Sun Yat-sen University professors, with frequent visits to enterprises, export processing zones, harbors, and political party and governmental offices. The group then flew to Hong Kong and traveled by ferry up the Pearl River to Nansha Information Technology Park — a new technology development zone affiliated with Hong Kong Science and Technology University, a partner of Georgia Tech’s located at the west end of the large bridge over the Pearl River at Humen (the site of major naval battles in the 1st Opium War). The group spent a week touring newly emerged manufacturing centers around the Pearl River Delta (Shenzhen, Dongguan, Zhongshan) using Nansha as a base, and discussing the powerful economic symbiosis that has emerged between the Pearl River Delta and Hong Kong. Several days in Guangzhou were then followed by a final week in Hong Kong. The program will run again in summer 2007 and is open to non-Georgia Tech students from Georgia and elsewhere (http://www.eastasiaprogram.gatech.edu).

A second Georgia Tech program offers a different China experience. Based at Jiaotong University in Shanghai, students can choose from nine different courses in engineering, social science and humanities. This past summer, the second year of the program, 52 students from 15 different schools/majors at Tech participated. Led by co-directors Haizheng Li and G. Tong Zhou, this program is an institute-wide program jointly sponsored by the Office of International Education, the College of Engineering / School of Electrical & Computer Engineering and the Ivan Allen College / School of Economics at Georgia Tech, in partnership with Shanghai Jiaotong University (SJTU).

The third annual Georgia Tech-Shanghai Summer Program will be launched in 2007. Classes will be held during the nine-week period May 21, 2007 – July 21, 2007.
This program is open to students from all U.S. colleges and universities (http://www.shanghaisummer.gatech.edu/).

Another University System of Georgia program also has a range of course offerings that can be taken from a campus based in China. Summer program director, Baogang Guo, professor of social sciences at Dalton State University, had 27 students and five USG faculty members participate in the Summer Study in China–General Studies Program between May 9 and June 5. The program offered ten courses ranging from history, political science, English, ethics, and business. They also visited Beijing, Xi’an, Zhengzhou, Luoyang, Anyang, and Shanghai.

A second program offered by the University System coordinated with the General Studies program to allow students to piggyback language and culture onto the general course curriculum. Led by May Gao of Kennesaw State, this program was based at Yangzhou University in Yangzhou City, in East China’s Jiangsu Province in the fast growing Yangtze River Delta. The program involves 4 weeks of study on campus as well as travel to Beijing, Nanjing, Zhenjiang, Maoshan, Suzhou, and Shanghai.

At UGA, Bob Grafstein, professor of political science, led a Maymester trip to Beijing, Shanghai and Chengdu, with plans to run this program again next year (http://www.uga.edu/columns/060717/news-study.html), and Ari Levine, professor of history, led a senior-year Foundation Fellows trip to Beijing and Xi’an over spring break for students in the UGA undergraduate Honors Program.

Student interest in China has also been reflected in increasing demand for Chinese language courses. Emory and Georgia Tech are reporting record numbers of first year students registering for Chinese. New full time Chinese language faculty members started at both Agnes Scott and Kennesaw State this fall, launching those two schools’ Chinese language programs.

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