Nenu students

July 23, 2018

63 students from China visit SIU to learn about joint business degree

by Hannah Erickson

CARBONDALE, Ill. — Partnering with international universities not only provides students with valuable opportunities, but it also boosts campus growth and community economics. That’s why the partnership that was first formed 35 years ago between Southern Illinois University Carbondale and Northeast Normal University in China continues on today.

This summer, 63 students and four faculty members from NENU are visiting the SIU campus for a two-week long summer program to experience the region, test out business classes and get a feel for what the university has to offer. The program lasts July 21-August 4 and involves a variety of activities and events.

For Yi Lee, SIU Center for International Education Partnerships Coordinator, the goal is to provide the students with a taste of SIU to assist them in making informed decisions about their future.

“All too often, international students choose American universities sight unseen, putting faith in national rankings or glossy brochures,” Lee said. “With this program, students will actually see, feel, taste and experience SIU and Carbondale, so that they can make a more informed decision.”

Collaborative business degree

To better aid students, the SIU School of Accountancy and NENU School of Business worked collaboratively to offer a joint degree program. Students who complete two years at NENU and then transfer to SIU for their junior and senior year will receive a bachelor’s degree in accountancy from both universities. Andrew Carver, who is overseeing the program, sees this as way to strengthen the students and encourage future enrollment to SIU.

“The majority of these students are currently enrolled at NENU in the first two years of our joint degree program in Accountancy,” Carver said. “Their summer experience in Carbondale will factor heavily in their decision to enroll at SIU as a degree-seeking student.”

Of those attending the current summer program, 20 have committed to transferring to SIU in the fall of 2019, while many of the others are still considering their choices.

Summer program involves community

Strong international enrollments are important not only to the university, but also to the many local businesses that depend on revenue generated by serving the international student population. During the summer program, students will have the opportunity to experience much of what the region has to offer.

The students will eat at local restaurants, explore Giant City National Park, attend a Miner’s game, experience a Sunset Concert, participate in a potluck, visit a farmer’s market, enjoy the Varsity Center and much more.

Potential for future growth

The partnership between the two universities has already allowed many students to reach their goals, and the hope is to continue to offer a valuable educational experience to those interested.

“The first cohort of NENU students graduated from SIU in May, and we are pleased that several of these students are planning to continue their studies at SIU as graduate students,” Carver said.

Currently, around 100 students from NENU are enrolled at SIU with this program adding many to that number.

Carver is confident summer programs for prospective international students will become increasingly important recruiting tool in the future and the plan is to continue to expand summer experiences with other partner universities throughout the world.