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Adapting to the Changing International Education Environment – The Beijing Center

Although the global education environment is ever-changing, the on-going COVID-19 pandemic has created new challenges that have prompted educational institutions to expand their teaching and learning methods. While these new ways can – and have – positively impacted the global education environment, they have also disrupted student mobility, given rise to assessment and accreditation constraints, and jeopardized educators’ and students’ academic pursuits.

Along with many institutions, The Beijing Center (TBC) has been implementing new and effective ways to continue educating students and creating cultural exchange opportunities. In doing so, TBC is working towards establishing new academic programs and qualification frameworks that maintain high standards for our students and are the best fit for face-to-face, hybrid, and online learning during these times. TBC’s programs accommodate students interested in participating in a semester abroad, internships, and studying specific subject matters.

Beginning this summer 2020, the Virtual Internship Program was designed to offer students the opportunity to enhance their professional experience during quarantine, alongside their semester classes. As part of the program, students work with a TBC Internship Coordinator that places them with a Beijing-based company, contingent on their interests, skills, and professional goals. Students work on assigned projects during the virtual internship while attending online classes and workshops on career development, resume building, Chinese culture, economy, and the business environment. At the end of the internship program, interns participate in the Virtual Internship Showcase, highlighting their experience through a virtual presentation. Find out more about this summer’s virtual internship showcase here.

This fall 2020 marked the inaugural American Pathway Program for Chinese students from all over China to begin their college studies at TBC while preparing for their future plans to transition to and study in the United States. The college freshmen partake in English-taught core, foundational courses, as well as seminars and activities that prepare them for college success and life living and studying in the US. Recently, TBC welcomed the first student cohort for the fall 2020 semester. Take a look at the orientation weekend events here and read about it in the welcome article on the TBC blog here.

Additionally, this fall 2020, TBC will be launching online Mandarin language courses open to students and faculty impacted by travel and study abroad constraints. Having over 20 years of Chinese-teaching experience, TBC is working closely with our faculty to create a hybrid Mandarin language course featuring online live classes and pre-recorded videos on various scenarios useful for different everyday communication. Details of the online language courses can be found here.

While online teaching and learning is practical and can provide an equally beneficial experience, recognizing the challenges and constraints – as well as the benefits – has allowed TBC to embrace this transformative period. With this recognition at the center of the decision-making process, TBC has tailored our learning experience, integrated new (and potentially better) approaches, and constructed additional learning assessment methods and strategies to support our students and community.

Founded in 1998, The Beijing Center for Chinese Studies is a center of higher education in Mainland China committed to fostering mutual understanding between China and other cultures through cultural exchange, education, and research. What makes TBC unique is their placement in a long and storied tradition of Jesuit education, one that teaches that true cultural engagement starts first with friendship.