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WSU joins national effort to expand student study abroad

GSA-logo-250PULLMAN, Wash. – Washington State University will increase the number of students who study abroad from about 750 per year to 1,000 over the next five years. It is part of a nationwide initiative to equip them with the international experience necessary for success in a globalized world.Continue reading

Oct. 30: College of Business fundraiser simulates a night in Italy

By Sue McMurray, College of Business

Trabani-80PULLMAN, Wash. – Forget spaghetti and meatballs. Anyone hungry for the “real deal” Italian cuisine experience will find just that at the Washington State University School of Hospitality Business Management’s annual Taste of Italy on Wednesday, Oct. 30.Continue reading

First Global Cougs Week expands horizons at WSU

PULLMAN, Wash. – Panel discussions, a learning fair and a free movie will be part of the first Global Cougs Week at Washington State University Aug. 26-30.

Hosted by the Office of International Programs, these events are free to the public:
Aug. 27:
* Cougs at Home and Abroad student panel, noon-1 p.m., CUB L46.
Aug. 28:
* Global learning fair, 10 a.m.-3 p.m., Terrell Mall.
Aug. 29:
* Global Experiences and the Job Market professional panel, noon-1 p.m., CUE 518. The panel will include representatives from Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories, the Washington State Trade Commission and the Peace Corps.
crossing borders movie* Free movie night followed by discussion, 7 p.m., CUB auditorium. The award-winning documentary “Crossing Borders” ( explores the perceived clash of civilizations between Islam and the West. It is about four American students traveling throughout Morocco, interacting with Moroccans and addressing tough issues/perceptions.
The discussion panel will include a WSU Moroccan student, a WSU student that studied abroad in Morocco, a WSU philosophy professor and a former Peace Corps volunteer to Morocco.
Aug. 30:
* Soccer coffee hour, 2:30-5 p.m., CUB L46.

Students earn national scholarships to study abroad

PULLMAN, Wash. – Three Washington State University students are among approximately 800 undergraduates nationwide awarded the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship to study abroad this fall.

About 20 percent of applicants are successful, and supporting essays are particularly important to the application, said Sarah Ann Hones, director of the distinguished scholarship program at WSU. More than 30 WSU students since 2006 have received the scholarship. 

More information regarding the Gilman, or applying for distinguished scholarships and other prestigious awards, can be found online at

The recipients are:   

* Galen Green, a sophomore English major from WSU Vancouver, who will spend a year at the Beijing Language and Culture University in China taking classes in both English and Mandarin. An avid fiction writer, he plans to start and facilitate a writing workshop in Beijing to stay active in his craft. 

He said life in another culture helps to accelerate an understanding of one’s own culture, stifling ethnocentrism.

“I’m excited to be frustrated, anxious and completely mesmerized,” Green said. “There’s really no substitute for that kind of experience; I think everyone should study abroad.”

He said financial costs are not always an obstacle. He gave up driving to save extra money for traveling and said such simple steps make the “excuse of cost for studying abroad not particularly impressive.” 

He said that getting the Gilman award is a reminder that sometimes an otherwise average student –who is just passionate about travel – can be recognized.

* Jackie Hill, a senior Chinese major at WSU Pullman, who will spend a semester at the Harbin Institute of Technology in Harbin, China for an intensive Chinese language and culture program.

She hopes to use the experience to gain an edge in applications for master’s programs to become a librarian who specializes in Chinese studies. Her goal is to help reduce misconceptions about Chinese history and culture.

* Maria Peden, a senior anthropology major at WSU Vancouver, who will spend a year at Yonsei University in Seoul, South Korea. The concepts and principles of anthropology, she said, are best learned from gaining an inside perspective through cultural immersion.

Peden will keep a blog – and perhaps a YouTube channel – to document her journey. She also hopes to get involved in volunteer activities while in South Korea to promote a positive image of American students and to give back to her host nation.

“Going abroad helps teach and reinforce valuable skills,” she said. “You can look at problems from multiple perspectives and adapt to new situations. I think that’s applicable for anyone or any career.”

WSU responds to China’s call

PULLMAN – China hosts five times the number of international students that it welcomed 10 years ago, and WSU is among the contributors.
According to WSU International Programs data, China is the fifth most popular destination for WSU students studying abroad, with 36 students there during the 2007-2008 academic year. In contrast, one WSU student studied in China in 2002-2003.
Chinese universities are establishing partnerships with universities in other countries to encourage international students to study in China. This effort to internationalize, coupled with a growing American interest in China, has increased the number of WSU students choosing to study there, said Candace Chenoweth, director of Education Abroad at International Programs.
“The increase has been driven by faculty-led programs in the College of Business and elsewhere, as well as the growth in the number of students studying Chinese here,” she said.

Looking to the future

Universities around the world are reporting similar increases in the number of students studying in China.  According to a September issue of the Chronicle of Higher Education (see ONLINE @ and search “fifth importer”), the Chinese Ministry of Education reported the number of international students at Chinese universities rose from 39,000 in 1997 to 195,000 in 2007. Chinese officials have outlined plans to increase that number to 500,000 students by 2020.
This growing interest in China is no surprise to Christopher Lupke, associate professor of Chinese at WSU.
“When I arrived at WSU eight years ago, there was not a single student from our program studying in China,” he said. “Now we have 10 students in full-year immersion programs in Chinese universities.”
“A lot of these students are thinking pragmatically,” said Richard Porter, director of the International Students and Scholars Program. “They see that understanding China is good for their future employment.”

Largest WSU group

While the number of WSU students going to China has seen recent growth, the number of Chinese students at WSU and other American universities has remained consistently high.
“Here at WSU, the Chinese student population has traditionally been the largest, or one of the largest, on campus,” Porter said. According to the fall 2008 report from International Programs, about one-fifth of the international students at WSU are Chinese. Including ethnic Chinese students from Taiwan, Hong Kong and other Asian countries would boost that percentage to about one-third of the total.
While Chinese students are expected to continue to study at American universities, the big change is the recent emphasis on opening Chinese universities to international students.
“Chinese universities and students are now reaching out,” Porter summarized. “Part of the reason is economic, since international students bring money to China, and part of the reason is political, since this increases Chinese influence and the understanding of Chinese culture.”