August 6, 2012
When classes ended last spring for most Franklin Pierce University students, there were 11 undergrads from Dr. Mack Bean and Dr. Mary Ann Gaal’s business management class, China’s Influence on the World’s Economy, who were about to embark on the most important part of their spring-semester course: a two-week trip to China. The trip was the result of a collaborative effort between Franklin Pierce University and Beijing Union University, a partnership that both institutions are in the process of evaluating for further development.
FPU students had opportunities to give a variety of presentations at elementary, middle, and high schools in Beijing, and to spend time at Beijing Union University during the trip. Dr. Bean and Dr. Gaal, who accompanied the students, each offered lectures at Beijing Union University. The group also visited an Internet company, an architectural firm, and an energy firm; each company provided perspectives on their industry and an insider’s view on what it is like to do business in China. Dr. Gaal thought the best part of the experience for students might have been the opportunity that each had to spend a day with a Chinese family. “They got to ask all kinds of questions and really see things from another perspective,” she says. Students also visited popular attractions in Beijing and took a side trip to Xi’an to see the renowned Terracotta Army.
The two-week trip to China was the fruition of 18 months of groundwork laid between Franklin Pierce University and Beijing Union University, a partnership that may potentially develop into regular faculty and student exchanges, as well as opportunities for collaborative research projects. “The students absolutely loved the trip,” Dr. Bean says. “It opened their eyes to possibilities that they hadn’t thought of before.” As a result of the trip, several students are now considering working or doing post-graduate studies in China.
A group of ten students from Beijing schools visited Franklin Pierce University in June 2010; four Chinese students from this group will be full-time students at Franklin Pierce University during the upcoming school year. Semester-long and summer exchange opportunities are hoped for in future years. Dr. Bean and Dr. Gaal plan to offer their team-taught China’s Influence on the World’s Economy business class and trip every spring.
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