Students from Bogota, Shanghai Unite to Experience CSU

COLUMBUS, Ga. - A new cultural exchange program has brought together college students from distant countries and cultures to experience the Southeast via Columbus State University.

In a series of activities titled “Summer Immersion Excursion” that started Monday, Columbus State’s Continuing Education division is hosting 30 students and four professors from China’s Shanghai University of Engineering Science and seven students and three professors from Uniminuo (Corporacion Universitario Minuto de Dios) in Bogota, Colombia.

The program’s primary objective is to expand CSU’s international outreach and establish a foundation for future exchange opportunities with the participating schools.

The activities include Aflac, Callaway Gardens, Georgia Aquarium and CNN excursions, dining at Minnie’s Uptown Restaurant, experiencing the Coca-Cola Space Center and CSU faculty presentations covering American business practices and participation in Continuing Education’s English Language Institute classes.

Program coordinator Rachel Wilcox said the latter activity has spurred an unexpected degree of interaction among the participants, including students enrolled in the institute, which prepares international students for college-level enrollment by improving their fluency in the English language. Both visiting groups sat in on the classes with students from Korea, Mexico, Honduras and other countries. “There was an incredible level of interest expressed about one another's cultural background,” she said. “A lot of e-mail addresses and cell phone numbers have been exchanged and new friendships likely started.”

Furthering the academic experience, the visitors also are attending CSU faculty-led symposiums such as “Global Economic Trends and Financial Crisis” by economics professor Andres Jauregui and “Working in Living in the U.S. and the Current Status of Management Information Systems” by Lei Li, assistant professor.of management information systems.

The Shanghai group of will depart early Saturday morning, while the Colombia delegation will stay until Aug. 1. During the final week, the Colombian students will join with kids participating in Continuing Education’s Activ8 summer camp programs.