Li Li is already convinced she wants to transfer to UDM next year. "I find UDM to be a good learning environment with supportive teachers and warm, friendly people." After two weeks in Detroit, UDM already feels like home. Aside from residing on campus while taking intensive Academic Writing and Accent Reduction courses, Li Li and several other students from Hubei University of Technology enjoyed a Global Exchange picnic, where students met and were paired with UDM alumni who invited students to their homes later in the week.
During the latter part of the program, students participated in a weeklong adventure camp at Camp MichiLuCa in northern Michigan, where they practiced speaking English with Americans of all ages. Lara Wasner, the Director of Language & Cultural Training developed the program as a graduate student, and first implemented the program at UDM last year.
According to Wasner, UDM's program provides many benefits of short-term homestays (which are attractive to Chinese students), while allowing them to sample campus life here at UDM. "Aside from meeting Americans," Wasner says, "the participants are introduced to concepts of U.S. higher education, the necessity of group participation, what it means to think critically instead of focusing solely on passing a test."
This is meaningful for Chinese students whose curriculum in China is starting to resemble that of US univiersities since the Chinese government announced sweeping education reform earlier this year. Wasner says, "Students who are considering applying to US universities have a much better idea of such expectations; many will begin applying to graduate programs as soon as they return to China."
For Li Li, her stay in China may be brief. "I will apply to UDM as soon as I return to China and hope that I am accepted for fall of 2008," she says. "I look forward to making many more friends here when I return."