ECPI University’s study abroad program is in its eleventh year and to date has covered four of the six inhabitable continents. In March, a group of 22 including three chaperons enjoyed 13 days in China.
Study abroad programs are generally imagined in the traditional college setting where students spend a semester away. According to Dr. Glenn Corillo, faculty director of ECPI University’s program, only a third of colleges follow that format while the remaining two-thirds use the same model as ECPI University with two weeks abroad.
Students from ECPI University, Medical Careers Institute and the Culinary Institute of Virginia in Hampton Roads enrolled in Communication 205, Culture and Diversity. Students were in class for two weeks learning about the places and the culture they would visit, two weeks abroad, and then back to the class room for one week.
Study abroad student, Ricki Furlong, who is studying healthcare administration at MCI, ECPI University’s School of Health Science, had high praise for the class. “Dr. Corillo does a great job of getting the principles of the course across. I also think the subject of culture and diversity helped members of the class to grow emotionally. We learned from each other.”
The trip included visits to Beijing, Xian, Shanghai and Hong Kong with items on the itinerary that included:
• A visit to the 2008 Olympic site
• Exercise instruction from a Tai Chi master
• A visit and climb of the Great Wall of China
• A pagoda visit
• A visit to the Ming tombs where 13 of the 15 emperors re buried
• A lecture on eastern medicine from the Chinese Medicine Research Center
• A visit to Tiananmen Square, the largest town square in the world
• A visit to the Forbidden Palace
• A visit to the Terra Cotta Museum where 8,000 clay soldiers are buried underground
• A visit to Banpo village to see how ancient Chinese lived
• A performance of a Kung Fu show
• A visit to a Buddha temple
• A visit to Nanjing Road which is much like Times Square in New York
• An acrobatic performance
• Shopping at Stanley Market
Students learned interesting aspects about China during the course. Due to population issues, the government instituted a policy in 1978 that would allow for only one child per family and that families would be fined for having more. Many families would abort females in order to have a male heir. As a result, by 2020 there will be 50 to 70 million unmarried males with no hope of finding a spouse.
Students noted that there was very little obesity in China which could be attributed to shopping every day for fresh food and lack of sweets. The internet is also censored in China with no search reference for Facebook, George Washington or democracy. The government also controls the heat by turning it on November 15 and off on March 15, incidentally during the time of ECPI University’s visit. The group experienced colder temperatures with no access to heat in many commercial locations. “The entire group came back with a whole new appreciation for our country,” said Dr. Corillo.