Three locations. Two continents. One school. Kean University has expanded quite a lot over the years, but how does the Kean community come together to form, well, a community?
The Center for International Studies (CIS) attempts to bridge the continent-sized gap by promoting several study abroad opportunities. Each semester, students can travel to countries like Cuba, Tanzania, Poland, Trinidad, Romania and more.
One abroad offering in particular brings international students together, and that is the Wenzhou program.
“Our office views studying abroad as a tremendous opportunity that all students should take advantage of,” stated Yaruby Petit-Frere, Director of CIS. “Our goal is to approve as many students as possible that meet the requirements.”
Each semester there is a new round of students from Kean University campuses who study international at one of the other locations.
Currently, there are approximately 150 Wenzhou Kean University students studying abroad here. On the other side of the world, there are nine Kean USA students absorbing the Chinese culture.
There is a cap on how many Kean USA students can travel to Wenzhou per semester.
“We typically send about 20 between both fall and spring semesters,” Petit-Frere commented. “Only 15 students are eligible to participate each semester and so far we have not reached our capacity, so I encourage all students to apply.”
As Petit-Frere mentioned, there are a couple of requirements a student must meet in order to be eligible. A student must be of sophomore status with a grade point average (GPA) of 2.8 or higher.
Also, applicants who have a GPA of 3.0 or higher are given an additional opportunity. Those who meet this criterion will be considered for a Sobel Global Wenzhou scholarship. This award is provided by the Kean University Foundation and can possibly goes towards one or all of the following: airfare, room and board costs and cultural travel experiences.
The process for a Kean USA student to apply to go to Wenzhou is simple. Along with the application, a student must submit:
- a 1 page essay
- 2 reference letters
- Copy of transcript
- Curriculum Guide Sheet
Students approved to travel can expect a similar semester time frame, beginning in January and finishing in May.
“A Kean representative travels with the group about one week prior to the start of classes in order for the students to have an orientation and get assimilated with jet lag,” Petit-Frere said. “Students typically return at the end of each semester, but many have expanded their time in Asia to travel around prior to returning home…Students are eligible to study up to [one] academic year…”
Worried about the costs of this rare opportunity? CIS recognizes that many students have other financial responsibilities and some cannot afford to study abroad without some help. That is why there is an impressive list of scholarships encouraging students to explore international education. Available financial resources and more information are on the CIS website.
A possible concern for students studying abroad is that, even though they will be in a foreign country, they are going to be too loaded with classwork to travel and see the surrounding sites.
CIS makes sure that does not happen.
“The semester at [Wenzhou Kean University] includes about three cultural trips sponsored by Sobel Global Scholarship funds,” Petit-Frere said, “so they not only get to experience China on an academic level, but also get to visit other famous cities and sites such as Beijing and Shanghai.”
Does studying for five months in Wenzhou, China sound like a thrilling experience? If so, take the next step and apply.
Unfortunately, applications for spring 2017 are closed. However, students can start applying for the fall 2017 international semester around mid-January 2017. To put in an application, go to the CIS office in Center for Academic Success (CAS) room 121.
“There is no other campus in China, as ours, that gives students the opportunity to study across the globe, paying their regular, local in-state tuition!” Petit-Frere exclaimed. “Less than ten percent of undergraduate students across the USA study abroad (IIE-2016 Open Doors report), so this opportunity can give Kean students that edge needed to separate themselves from their peers and bring their personal and career development to new levels.”