Alumnae helping BU further build education relationships in China

Alumnae helping BU further build education relationships in China


Alumnae at Shandong University of Technology Kristina Vickery '10 and Sarah Halter '12 are both Bloomsburg University English graduates who are teaching English as a Second Language classes at Shandong University of Technology (SDUT) in Zibo, Shandong, China.

Vickery began teaching at SDUT in August of 2010 after completing her bachelor's in English. The two things she likes best about working in China are her students and the awesome food. Her interest in China began at BU in Jing Luo’s Chinese language courses and the China Today Chinese culture course.

Halter visited SDUT while a participant in the 2011 faculty-led Study Abroad in China program, which was based in Zibo for four weeks. She followed that experience by completing two semesters of Chinese language at BU and participating in intensive language training at Beijing University in July of 2012, again as a participant in Luo’s faculty-led study abroad summer program.

In preparation for this teaching assignment she completed an online certification program in ESL. Vickery plans to leave China at the end of this term and to pursue graduate work in international relations and/or Asian Studies.

Halter is not sure how long she will stay after this year at SDUT. She is steadily improving her language fluency and may pursue graduate work someday in China. But that is in the future. For now she is happily meeting new friends and enjoying the cultural experience of living and working in China.

Jim Pomfret, Ph.D., professor emeritus from the Department of Mathematics, Computer Science, and Statistics is spending eight weeks this fall as a university volunteer working with SDUT computer science students, who are enrolled in a cooperative program with BU’s computer science program. He is helping them prepare for the TOEFL test and introducing them to BU’s culture and procedures.

Simply the act of choosing courses is totally foreign to these students since their schedules at SDUT are set by the department in their freshman year. Searching for seats in courses they want just doesn’t compute for these students. BU currently has eight students from SDUT enrolled and expects to enroll five to 10 per year in the coming years.

The cooperative program between SDUT began with a visit by BU faculty and administrators in 2006. Since then SDUT has hosted the PASSHE 2008 Honors Summer Program and the 2011 faculty-led Summer Study in China Program. In 2011 BU student Dan Copes received a scholarship from SDUT to study Chinese language for semester joining students from more than 15 foreign countries here tostudy Mandarin.

Pomfret has served as a visiting professor SDUT in both mathematics and ESL on three occasions in 2009, 2010, and 2012. Any students interested in studying Mandarin at SDUT should consult with Jing Luo, Department of Languages and Cutlures, at jluo@bloomu.edu.

Graduates, especially those with ESL certification, who want to find out more about teaching at SDUT can contact Jim Pomfret through the Global Awareness Society Office in the Andruss Library or at gasi@bloomu.edu.