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CIS Hosts Taiwanese Interns for International Experience

Gina Cheng and Alice HsuThe Center for International Studies is dedicated to building international bridges for the University of St. Thomas. While encouraging local students to experience the world, CIS also provides opportunities for students from sister universities abroad to experience the United States. 

This summer, two English majors from UST sister school Wenzao Ursuline University of Languages in Taiwan interned at CIS.  Gina Cheng and Alice Hsu came to UST to learn more about the business and programming required for effective international education.  This summer marked the first time that CIS hosted international interns.

St. Thomas and Wenzao Ursuline have been sister schools since 2009 and maintain one of the most active of UST’s sister school activities through traditional student exchange, group studies abroad and scholarly exchange through the International Council of Universities of St. Thomas Aquinas. 

“Bridges run two ways,” said Dr. Hans Stockton, associate dean of the School of Arts & Sciences and director of the Center internship program. “Exchanges like this provide opportunities for individual, professional, and spiritual development for students at UST and in Taiwan.  What our students learn about themselves and the world will benefit them for the rest of their lives.”

Cheng and Hsu have traveled a long way for their international experience.  The two English majors are learning about the administration of international education, but also experiencing the Texan culture and sites. During their time in the Center, Cheng and Hsu produced various promotional materials in English and Chinese for CIS, aimed at attracting more Taiwanese students to the University. 

They also played supporting roles in the preparation and implementation of the Center’s annual summer workshop for Taiwanese students.  This year, 31 students from across Taiwan came to UST for the 2014 Youth Global Perspectives Program.  The YGP is a partnership between CIS and the Ministry of Education in Taipei that introduces American history and culture through various leadership seminars and cultural excursions.

Gina Cheng

Cheng will be a senior this year and is active in extracurricular activities back home.  In addition to majoring in English, she is studying for a minor in Spanish.  Gina was surprised by the ethnic diversity in Houston. 

“Before I came to Houston, I did not realize that this was the best place in the U.S. to practice my Spanish,” Cheng said.   After her time in Houston, Cheng said she has been bitten by the “travel bug” and wants to pursue a career that keeps the world’s doors open.

Alice Hsu

Hsu is a junior with a double major in English and Spanish.  This was her first time to have an international experience.  For Hsu, the most exciting part about being in Houston was getting to know the local culture. 

“It is very exciting to get along with people here and experience local life in Houston,” she said.  Hsu was surprised by how hospitable Houstonians are and general courtesy extended to strangers.

Dr. Janet Weng, chair of the English Department at Wenzao, supervises more than 100 international interns. During July, she visited her U.S.-based interns at UST, University of Texas at Austin, Southern Methodist University and University of California at Berkeley. Weng said  she was quite impressed with the level of care and mentoring extended to her students at UST. 

“Our interns were not only well taken care of, but the Center made sure they received the mentoring that is central to any internship,” Weng said.

The University continues to benefit from a growing list of international partnerships. Stockton looks forward to continued expansion of UST throughout Taiwan, China and Japan in particular. 

“If the ‘Asia Century’ is now upon us,” Stockton said, “it is important that UST continue to embrace the education and preparation of our students that will be necessary for the bridges that our future leaders will build.”

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