Tourist attraction

Agreement opens doors to BGSU, Beijing students

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The new wealth being generated in China has resulted in a surge of interest in tourism, both at home and abroad. At the same time, increasing numbers of Americans are visiting China.

All this creates a demand for professionals in the tourism area. BGSU took a step toward addressing this growing need and providing new opportunities for students when it signed a memorandum of understanding recently with Beijing Union University (BUU). The agreement expands the existing relationship between BUU’s Tourism College and BGSU’s Department of Tourism, Leisure and Event Planning.

The BGSU Office of International Programs and Partnerships facilitated the agreement between BUU and BGSU and will continue to work with each institution to expand the agreement. The office helps provide new international opportunities and programs for not only domestic students going abroad but also for international students on campus.

Six delegates from BUU, Beijing’s largest university, visited campus July 30 to sign the memorandum. Through the collaboration, students from both universities will have the opportunity to study abroad at the partner institution, thus strengthening the student experience within the respective programs.

“I am very excited about the possibilities of working with such esteemed, international colleagues,” said Dr. Brad Colwell, dean of the College of Education and Human Development. “Their program is very large, and their integration of technology in the classroom is impressive. I know our programs will complement each other, and the opportunity to exchange faculty and students is a wonderful, reciprocal opportunity.”

BUU has one of the most technologically advanced tourism labs in China, housed within its Virtual Tourism Center at the Tourism College. The lab is equipped with a 3-D printer and 4-D lab space designed to give students the experience of “real” outdoor travel.

The opportunities provided by the collaboration are not just for students but for faculty as well. In 2012, Dr. Bob Lee, program coordinator for tourism, leisure and event planning, was invited to teach a course on Tourism English at BUU. As part of the memorandum, visiting professors from BUU will have the same opportunity to teach various tourism classes at BGSU.

The partnership is in its infancy now, but both parties look forward to a much larger collaboration in the near future. One option is to have students from BUU study three years at their home institution and transfer to BGSU for two years of undergraduate and graduate coursework. Under this program, students will complete a bachelor’s and master’s degree in about five years. A second program focuses on international study for students of both universities. Students in this program will spend two years at their home institution and two years at the partner institution. These students will graduate with a bachelor’s degree from both universities in four years.