Saint Mary’s Faculty of Arts Welcomes First Cohort of Students from Chinese university
Saint Mary’s Faculty of Arts is the first Arts faculty in Canada to welcome a cohort of students from China to its campus. For the next two years, Saint Mary’s University will be a home-away-from-home for 37 students from Beijing Normal University - Zhuhai (BNUZ), who will complete the final two years of their undergraduate degree at Saint Mary’s.
“Saint Mary’s is the first university in Canada, and maybe first in the world, to have implemented a 2+2 Program in Arts,” said Dr. Margaret MacDonald, Dean of Arts at Saint Mary’s.
The program is a result of a unique and longstanding partnership with BNUZ. The first partnerships date back to 2002, and since then, hundreds of students from BNUZ have attended Saint Mary’s. Saint Mary’s is now expanding its 2+2 agreements to all three campus faculties—Business, Science, and Arts faculties, enabling BNUZ students to complete the first two years of university study on campus at BNUZ, and transfer to Saint Mary’s to complete the final two years of their degrees in Halifax.
“The links between China and Canada are growing with each passing year, and the next generation of leaders from both our countries will benefit from the international exchanges we establish today,” said Dr. Eric Henry, an Assistant Professor in Saint Mary’s Department of Anthropology. “Having the BNUZ cohort integrated with our regular classes is definitely fostering those connections.”
Jonathan Shaw, an Educational Developer for Intercultural Learning at Saint Mary’s Studio for Teaching and Learning, is a part-time instructor with the Faculty of Education teaching a course entitled “English as an International Language”. Last semester, he had 11 Chinese students as part of the BNUZ 2+2 Arts cohort, majoring in disciplines such as International Development Studies, History, and Asian Studies.
“Although they are really excited and interested to learn about Canada, they really see their time at Saint Mary’s as part of a global experience,” said Shaw. “These students chose to come here to be part of a very outward-looking, international campus.”
Yajie Cao, a third-year Asian Studies and History major, says that her cohort feels that the variety of support they have received – from the university, individual faculty and staff, as well as Canadian and other international students – has greatly eased their transition to life on campus. “We got to know everyone really quickly. The university really made us feel welcome, and the other students from Canada and abroad are so friendly and helpful. But when we do need some extra help, I know we can always rely on our mentors and tutors!”
Beijing Normal University - Zhuhai is located in Guangdong province near Hong Kong and Macau. BNUZ has 35,000 to 40,000 students studying a number of courses including economics, management, law, and engineering. Its location in Zhuhai places it in a steadily growing business and financial region.