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Katie Fenton, Online Reporter
This summer, Pierce College students are invited to spend a month in Beijing, China for an IT summer school through Beijing Jiaotong University’s School of Software Engineering.
The summer school, organized by Yuliya Sharkun, isn’t a study abroad program through Pierce College. Sharkun worked with Pierce College Manager of International Student Services Mary Meulblok to make the summer school available to Pierce students.
“This isn’t a Pierce College program,” Meulblok said. “These students aren’t earning credit at Pierce College, they’re earning credit at the Chinese university. There’s no guarantee the credits will transfer back. Everything is run from China and it’s only a side benefit of us having a relationship with the school.”
Students who participate in the summer school will develop an Android application while also learning Chinese language and culture.
“The purpose is really to immerse students in Chinese culture and also programming,” Meulblok said. “They have to want to participate (because) it’s a study abroad program. It’s not a ‘go hang out in Beijing’ program. They have to be interested in that kind of software engineering. They’re working with people from all over the world. It’s an international hub, a group support system.”
Participants will also visit famous IT companies in Beijing’s Silicon Valley, the Great Wall, the Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square, Summer Palace and Temple of Heaven.
The program is tuition-free, but students must pay for airfare, housing, meals and tickets for educational excursions. They also need to obtain a visa and passport along with health insurance before the trip.
“I visited this university and I know they want to internationalize, so they’ve made the commitment to financially fund (the trip),” Meulblok said. “We have other schools that do the same thing, charge them for their costs like dorms and excursions. It’s an educational experience.”
Meulblok said six students have already expressed interest in the IT Summer School, compared to last year’s two students who went on the trip.
“I’m so excited”, Meulblok said. “It’s life changing. They get so much out of this. Go with an open mind and this is definitely a great way to have your study abroad experience in a great location.”
Any student who is enrolled at Pierce College and interested in computer science may apply for the program. Running Start students are also welcome to apply as long as they’re 18 years old. The deadline is May 1. Applications can be found at Beijing Jiaotong University’s Online Application for International Students http://study.bjtu.edu.cn/member!index/action?request_locale=en_US. Contact Yuliya Sharkun at firstname.lastname@example.org or +86(10)51683811 for additional information about the program.
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