People in Kelly green jerseys catching American footballs and rushing frantically to score touchdowns are not common sights in Yangshou in the Guangxi Province of China. But on March 2 and 3, the Thundering Herd made a symbolic appearance with around 25 education counselors from across China and Hong Kong and 8 members of the INTO recruitment team at the official Chinese INTO Marshall University launch event.
During the two-day event, participants had the opportunity to experience first-hand more about what the university and the small town of Huntington, West Virginia have to offer. From an American football night with an impromptu friendly match to an American barbeque, the counselors experienced the closeness, community and quality that Marshall has to offer to Chinese students.
Dr. Clark Egnor, Marshall’s Director of the Center for International Programs, translated the experiential aspects of the event to the university and what students could expect while studying in Huntington.
“I thought the launch went extremely well,” Egnor said. “It was a great idea to hold the event in beautiful Yangshuo – the West Virginia of China. Education counselors experienced a Marshall tailgate party, ate real American hamburgers and learned to sing the Marshall fight song and ‘Country Roads’ in Chinese.”
“The event was so much fun and definitely a memorable experience for everyone. I am confident the results of our hard work will pay off based on the positive feedback we have already received from counselors who attended.”
After the in-depth training session from Egnor, participants went rafting on Lijiang.
Gordon Lunan, INTO’s Recruitment Director for China, Hong Kong and Macau, said this launch was important to showcase INTO’s fourth and newest US partner to those who were unable to attend the traditional familiarization trips held in West Virginia in November 2012 and February 2013.
“Marshall brings something unique to INTO’s portfolio of US partners,” Mr. Lunan said. “It’s a smaller university that has different strengths to the large state universities in our US portfolio. Diversifying our options for offering students remarkable international experiences, outstanding outcomes and unrivaled support is important. Many students will thrive in a close-knit community with a high instructor to student ratio. Marshall has a lot to offer in China.”
Education counselor Isabella Zhang, from Shanghai Junyi, said the event helped her to better understand the experience at Marshall University and how students will benefit from studying in Huntington, West Virginia.
“This event gave us the opportunity to become more knowledgeable and confident when promoting Marshall as a key destination for students wanting to study in the U.S.,” she said.
“Guangxi is a very mountainous region in China which I’ve been told is very similar to West Virginia. I think these activities have helped us gain a better appreciation of what Marshall has to offer and will help us to attract more students to INTO’s Pathway programs there.”
INTO Marshall and Marshall University staff are busy preparing to welcome the center’s first student cohort this coming August.
Photo: Jane Dong (INTO Recruitment Manager for North China) and Dr. Lihua Yao enjoy rafting on the Lijiang.