Contact: Wendel Sloan at 505.562.2253
Reporter: Dr. Patrice Caldwell
PORTALES—After six years of work, Eastern New Mexico University will say "Ni Hao" (hello) to 12 undergraduate Chinese students to campus this fall.
Taking classes in everything from vocal performance to electronics engineering technology, the new students from China have all studied English for several years, earning excellent TOFEL scores in English language proficiency. Most have asked to share a dorm room with an American student.
The students would have never seen the high plains of New Mexico without the World American Cultural Exchange (WACE). In fall 1999, Mr. Wukang Li and Ms. Mary Stewart of WACE contacted ENMU about partnering with Chinese universities to bring Chinese students to the United States for study.
WACE's unique "1-2-1 program" allows Chinese students to complete their first college year in China before coming to the U.S. for two years of study. Students then return to China for their final year, earning a dual degree from their Chinese university and from ENMU.
One two occasions, WACE representatives accompanied ENMU staff members to China to meet with officials of Chinese universities to discuss the 1-2 Program and to align programs and courses. Plans to welcome Chinese students to ENMU came to an abrupt halt in fall of 2001 when tightened security limited the number of travelers entering the US. These visa limitations have gradually eased, and this summer, the students were successful in securing J-1 visas to come to ENMU.
In August, Professor Lily Zhang of the Sichuan Conservatory of Music visited the campus to confirm arrangements for four of her music students coming to ENMU. Later in September, three professors from Sichuan Conservatory will visit ENMU to check on their students and to visit with ENMU music faculty.
Meanwhile, the students from Sichuan Conservatory of Music look forward to eight more Chinese students joining them this week. Maybe for pizza!
For more information, call Fred Chilson at 505.562.4698.