Chinese Students from the Shanghai Institute of Foreign Trade Visit Suffolk

In stride with the great interest in China seen throughout the world, Suffolk University is also strengthening its exchanges with China. In addition to the two week training program in culture and academics for the students from Shanghai, Suffolk recently appointed Dr. Ronald Suleski (Chinese name Xue Long), former Assistant Director of the Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies at Harvard to be Director of Suffolk’s Rosenberg Institute for East Asian studies.

Dr. Suleski said, “In the current international situation, one cannot consider themselves an educated person if they have no understanding of Asia. Many Suffolk Law School graduates, for example, hold important positions in the state and regional governments where they influence public policy. So last year Suffolk established the Rosenberg Institute in order to offer lectures about Asia.” It also invited Dr. Suleski, a specialist in modern Chinese history who is well-acquainted with all aspects of Asia, to head the Institute, and to increase contacts with specialists from China and other Asian countries.

Over the past several years, Suffolk has become more of an international university, and has given opportunities for students from East Asia to come to America for study. Dan Wu from the University’s Center for International Education said that in the past year alone he has visited Asia three times to discuss cooperative educational programs. Besides the agreement with Shanghai Lixin University of Commerce, Suffolk recently hosted the Shanghai Institute of Foreign Trade for two weeks of study in the United States.

Dean Qiu Guixi and Professor Chao Tan from the Shanghai Institute spoke with this reporter yesterday on 4 August 2009, to explain that in China there are three specialized institutes to study foreign trade. They are located in Beijing, Guangzhou and Shanghai. They were originally set up through the cooperation of the Ministry of International Trade and Economics as high schools, but the one in Shanghai was designated a university-level institute. Since 1994 the Shanghai Institute has been under the direction of the Shanghai Municipal Government.

Dean Qiu said, “Since we are an institute to study foreign trade and economics, our students naturally study international economics, but they also want to understand the culture, economics and society of foreign nations. We have this study tour which costs 30,000 RMB for each participant. Not all students can go on the international study tours, but during their four years of education at our school, we’d like to see an increasing number of students travel abroad, and we have increased the number of those who participate from 10% of the student body to 25%.”

Students from the Shanghai Institute have traveled to the United States, France, Australia, Japan and England, where they visited Oxford University. During the three week experience of this group in the US, their itinerary included Washington, DC and New York City. Some students were impressed by how different American culture was from their own, and of course many suffered from jet lag. Students felt America is very beautiful. Some students are interested in US-China relations, in learning about famous Chinese people who have lived in North America, in the attitude of the US Government and American businesses towards China, etc. Based at Suffolk University while in Boston, the students have also visited Harvard, MIT, and Boston University. They also saw some of the museums, Quincy Market, and other places in the city. Through those visits they are learning about American history and culture.

Professor Chao said, “While the students from our Institute were traveling from Washington DC, through New York State and on toward Boston, they were impressed to see the fields and trees of green along both sides of the highway. They saw the environmental planning in the cities, and they saw that so many Americans seem to be often smiling and happy with their lives.”

Professor Chao also said she noticed in the United States that one can see many workers who are older adults. She saw this among the pilots and cabin crew on the airplanes, she saw it among the TV news reporters. They exuded a sort of confidence. This is a very different situation from that in China, she said, where one seems to find only younger people being so active in society.

Appeared in the 5 August 2009 edition of the Xingdao Ribao (Sing Tao Daily News) and reprinted with permission.