UVM to receive international students

The U.S.-Sino Pathways Program is a bid by UVM admissions to increase international student enrollment to compete with that of top universities, but it faces the challenge of easing the cultural transition from China to the U.S.    According to Vice President for Enrollment Management Chris Lucier, UVM is currently  in need of a more international student body. Lucier said that international students seeking a degree at UVM comprise only 0.6 percent of the student body.    The Sino Pathways program has already been implemented at several universities in the U.K. for over a decade. With international studies programs at the forefront of name-brand universities in the U.S., UVM hopes that the program will help it move up in the ranks of leading public universities.    “When you improve the student experience through the quality of the classroom experience and the quality of the experience outside the classroom, that usually helps prestige,” Lucier said.    The transition to American styles of learning will not be an easy one for Chinese students. International students will have to adjust to fundamentally different styles of teaching, Lucier said.    “They’re in a very teacher-centric type learning environment, so they haven’t been exposed to essay exams, classroom discussions, group projects or lab projects,” Lucier said. “So the whole process of beginning to help them understand Western-style learning begins in China.” Assistant Provost for Curricular Affairs Brian Reed said that students will complete a foundation year in their home country to prepare them for their coursework in America.  Students will learn from American professors, including faculty from Northeastern University and others.     Reed said that having an American education while they’re still in China will ease the transition into academic life at UVM.There will be a special emphasis on applied English, as it will play an important role in the transition of Chinese students into campus live at UVM, he said.  Selecting a major will be another challenge for Chinese students, as many of them are not completely aware of the concepts of majors and minors, Lucier said.    The majority of Chinese students will be expected to enter into business and engineering programs.  However, they have also shown an interest in a broad range of majors.    “When I was in China this past summer, I talked to a number of students who were interested in environmental sustainability, education and even in jazz performance,” Lucier said.    Domestic UVM students will also benefit from this exchange, Executive of International Education Services Kim Howard said.  Howard pointed out that approximately 62 percent of UVM students do not study abroad, but said that he hopes that as the percentage of students from outside of the U.S. increases, the cultural awareness of UVM students will as well.”Enrolling more international students on campus is one way of bringing the world to UVM,” Howard said.