Mount St. Mary’s University has announced a partnership with the Shandong Institute of Business and Technology in Yantai, China to create a study abroad program for both schools’ students.
The two schools have worked together on exchange programs for the past five years, but now hope to expand that relationship to semester-long study abroad opportunities.
Bolte Business School Dean Dr. Karl Einolf said China’s economy will soon be the largest in the world, and that “it will be great for our students to have this connection.”
The program is also especially beneficial for Shandong Institute students: the school will be eligible to receive funding from the Chinese government for the faculty and students who participate in the program.
“The more we can bring students from different beliefs and backgrounds, the greater education will be for everyone,” Einolf said. “Breaking down barriers is critical.”
The Bolte Business School currently offers alternating trips to China and Russia, with plans to travel to the latter this spring. Einolf explained that if Mount students travel to Russia, the university will likely invite Chinese students to Emmitsburg.
Last spring, Einolf and Dr. Michael Barry accompanied a group of students to China, one stop being the Shandong Institute. Brian Mullin, a senior student who went on that trip, described his surprise when discovering how well he and others connected with students from a different culture.
“I thought that the students were going to be a lot different than us,” he said. “I thought that they were going to have different mannerisms and senses of humor. I was very wrong about that. They love American culture.”
Many of the students who went on the trip made lasting connections and managed to keep in touch with their new acquaintances.
“I made a very good friend in China named Yan, who recently came to visit me,” Mullin said. “Through Yan, I am continuing to learn that American people and Chinese people are not so different. We all want a better future for our people and ourselves. My hope is that through such programs, our two countries can begin to work together more closely and lower the barriers that exist between us.”
Einolf stressed that the Chinese students are also “very enthusiastic, and they want to learn about the rest of the world too.”