Twenty-six students from Thomas Jefferson High School, International Leadership of Texas (ILTexas) Garland High School, ILTexas Keller-Saginaw High School and ILTexas Arlington – Grand Prairie High School recently completed a study abroad trip to China as part of the annual Chinese Summer Immersion Program, where they received college credit through Richland College.
While this study abroad trip has been available annually to college students, this is the first time the dual credit study abroad experience has been offered to high school students. During the month-long trip, students took culture and language classes at schools in various cities in China, stayed with host families and visited many of China’s historical and famous locations.
“The China Summer Immersion Program is, I think, one of the best experiences a high school student can have,” said Margaret Hong, director of international programs for ILTexas. “I know all the students from the International Leadership of Texas and Thomas Jefferson High School had a great time interacting and learning from their Chinese peers. Richland College enhanced this experience even more by offering an International Business dual credit class to our students in China. Their contribution made this program an even more enriching experience by helping our students attain real-world knowledge about international business that they can apply in their future careers.”
This study abroad trip was part of an elective class called Introduction to International Business and Trade that counted for Richland College credit and ILTexas credit. Part of the course involved weekly sessions that included case study analysis and discussion, monitoring the news as it relates to U.S. and China relations and a visit to the U.S. embassy in China to get a business briefing from the U.S. Commercial Service in Beijing.
“Studying abroad gives students the opportunity to see how other people live and how it compares to home,” said Lorraine McCord, adjunct instructor in the School of Business at Richland College. “It challenges as well as confirms beliefs about how the world works. And it helps put the news into context, as well as make friends from other cultures and improve language skills.”
While traveling, the students visited Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou, Zhongshan and Zhengzhou and saw many cultural and historical locations in each city. Some of the things they saw include the Great Wall of China, Tiananmen Square, Shaolin Temple, the Beijing Ancient Observatory, the Forbidden City and the Yellow River.
“From this trip, I gained perspective of the world beyond North America,” said student Regina Nguyen. “Many aspects of Chinese pop culture are like that of the U.S., and the two countries don’t feel as different from each other as one might think. I also learned to be more open-minded to the differences in the culture, which let me look past what was unfamiliar and learn about the culture and history. Lastly, I would like to think my language skills improved while we were there. Overall, I gained a lot from this trip, and I’m very thankful for it.”
The International Leadership of Texas incorporates leadership and education in the classroom for all students. Education is taught from a global perspective so that students will graduate with knowledge of the language and the tools needed for future leadership and success. The mission of ILTexas is to prepare students for exceptional leadership roles in the international community by emphasizing servant leadership, mastering the English, Spanish and Chinese languages, and strengthening the body, mind and character. Students have the opportunity to become trilingual, graduate with an associate’s degree and study abroad. ILTexas currently serves more than 17,000 students with 15 locations in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex and Houston.
The Richland College Dual Credit program provides an opportunity for bright, capable and motivated high school students to receive college credit while still in high school. It is open to any 9-12 grade student at a participating charter school, home school, private or public school.
For more information about ILTexas, visit iltexasdistrict.org. For more information about the Richland College Dual Credit program, visit alt.richlandcollege.edu/dual-credit.