During their fall semester orientation, 30 international students participated in an “Amazing Race” that took them to all corners of UNC Pembroke’s campus in a fun and informative competition.
From South Korea, China, Mexico, India, Finland and Sweden, these students were at the start of an amazing journey at UNCP. A college experience in the U.S. for these students – there are 80 international students here in the fall semester – is life changing, and the benefits for UNCP’s diverse campus are also significant, said Chancellor Kyle R. Carter.
“I am truly fortunate to have the opportunity to interact with our international students during the school year,” Chancellor Carter said. “It is always a learning experience for me because they are outstanding individuals.
“Our international students originate from a wide array of nations, and they add significantly to our already diverse campus,” he said. “UNC Pembroke is an outstanding study abroad destination, and I encourage our undergraduates to seriously consider an international experience. It is as advertised - life changing.”
Two UNCP students, who volunteered to help the Office of International Programs with orientation, were already feeling the benefits.
“I’m a Spanish major, so getting to meet international students is fun and informative,” said Jennifer Cousart, a senior from Charlotte, N.C. “I want to study abroad before going to school to become a nurse practitioner.”
Alissa Smiley, a sophomore from Seaboard, N.C., was there to meet some of her new roommates. “I’m going to live in the Global Living and Learning Community this year,” she said. “This is a good way to meet them.”
The living-learning community combines international and traditional UNCP students into a block of apartments. They will live and learn from each other for a year.
In June, Chancellor Carter traveled to Lanzhou, China, to attend the 10th annual commencement of the China Center for International Education Exchange. CCIEE is a consortium of more than 70 Chinese and 18 U.S. universities, who are represented by the American Association of State Colleges and University (AASCU).
The consortium channels Chinese students to the U.S., and UNCP was represented at the commencement by 22 graduates, who had completed two years of coursework in Pembroke and two years at their home university. For Chancellor Carter, the experience was well worth the long journey.
“I was fortunate to attend commencement exercises that included a large contingent of graduates who had studied at UNC Pembroke,” Chancellor Carter said. “It was an impressive program, and it was exciting to see these students holding our diplomas.
“The esteem with which the Chinese hold higher education was invigorating for me,” he said. “The CCIEE-AASCU consortium has been a productive partnership on both sides of the world.”
UNCP joined the consortium in 2005, and more than 100 Chinese students have followed. Other partnerships bring students from South Korea and Sweden and more partnerships are in the works with Vietnam, Ireland, Scotland and India, said Sara Brackin, director of International programs and its staff of eight.
“This fall our international student comes from 18 nations,” Brackin said. “What should not be forgotten is that these are outstanding students.”
The retention rate for international students is 93 percent and about half are represented on UNCP’s honor rolls for any semester, Brackin said.
Dr. Yun Shi, UNCP’s Asian Programs coordinator, said UNCP offers international students an outstanding educational experience.
“Among our international students, seven have already returned to enroll in graduate school,” Dr. Shi said. “This is indicative of the great experience they had as undergraduates.”
Adding to UNCP’s international exchange is the Global Leadership Initiative. Seven faculty members from Chinese universities are on campus during the fall semester.
“There is quite a difference between U.S. and Chinese education systems, and their faculty come here to learn about teaching and learning methods,” Brackin said. “Two UNCP faculty members - Dr. Kelly Charlton of the Psychology Department and Dr. Anita Guynn of the English Department – will provide guided instruction for them in research and pedagogy.”
For more information about international programs at UNCP, please contact their offices at 910.775.4095 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.