For years, the growth of those relationships was concentrated in Europe. The London Experience, which happens during spring break, started 25 years ago in the Mike Cottrell College of Business, and the Corps of Cadets has forged partnerships with military schools in Hungary, Romania and Poland. An agreement with Goethe-Institut, the premier global German language and cultural organization, sends UNG students to study in Germany each summer.
But as Asia is becoming a larger player on the world stage, UNG’s connections are growing at a rapid clip on that continent.
Strong Partner In Japan
UNG students will travel to Japan this summer for a similar, eight-week COIL experience. This fall, UNG students will have the option to go on a semester-long or academic-year exchange to the Japanese university for the first time, with Nanzan students coming to UNG for academic-year exchanges. The eight-week summer study abroad trips led by Dr. Tomoe Nishio, assistant professor of Japanese at UNG, in 2017 and 2018 were previously the longest trips available in UNG’s partnership.
“It is a great accomplishment to have established such a deep partnership with Nanzan University within just a few years,” Nishio said.
These connections are indicative of a larger trend of UNG’s growing footprint in Asia. Sadie Foote, study abroad adviser in UNG’s Center for Global Engagement, is glad to see that trend.
”Nishio’s special topics class welcomed the Japanese students this spring. She called the collaboration that paired four UNG students with two to three Nanzan students each “Project Sakura,” which means “cherry blossom.”
Associate Vice President for International Programs
“It’s an amazing experience for students to have this cultural immersion,” Schulte said. “Our hope is that it broadens their perspective and opens their eyes to see that they can study abroad for a summer, a semester or a year.”
Japanese Government Hosts 25 From UNG
“The Kakehashi Project was an incredible once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for me to not only experience the beauty that is Japan firsthand and get wonderful insight into the rich history of the country, but to get an amazing look into the culture that helped shape my ancestors, my family, and myself,” said senior London Taylor, who is from Buford, Georgia, and is pursuing a degree in film and digital media.
Corps of Cadets Adds Two Taiwan Agreements
Cadet Tyler Avret, a junior from Evans, Georgia, pursuing a degree in Chinese, was thankful for the semester he spent at ROCMA and is glad more students will get to be a part of similar exchanges.
“Going out and living in a different culture is eye-opening,” Avret said. “You see how everything is interconnected.”
One of the two new partnerships, with the Management College at NDU, located in Taipei, was signed this past summer to facilitate the exchange of students and faculty. UNG President Bonita Jacobs traveled to Taiwan in October to sign the second agreement, a student and faculty partnership with the NDU’s Political Warfare Academy, also known as Fu Hsing Kang College, in Taipei.
Critical Languages Play Vital Role
UNG’s Bachelor of Arts in modern languages offers a concentration in Chinese language and minors in Korean and Japanese.
“The University of North Georgia is fortunate to have a winning combination of excellent language programs and scholarship opportunities, which pave the way for all UNG students to access education abroad opportunities in Asia,” Schulte said.
Chinese Language Flagship, Project Global Officer (Project GO), and the Japan Foundation have all awarded grants that have bolstered UNG’s language and study abroad efforts in East Asia.
The Chinese Language Flagship allows students to study the language for four years at UNG, then have a capstone year abroad. UNG gained approval this spring to award flagship funds to civilian students in addition to eligible cadets — a move aimed to increase participation. For the first five years, nine of those sent for the capstone year were cadets while only four were civilians.
The university also has gained a second partner university, National Taiwan University, where students can spend their capstone year abroad. The other is at Nanjing University in China.
Project GO is a “collaborative initiative to improve language skills, regional expertise and intercultural communication skills of future military officers.”
UNG Launches East Asian Studies Degree
Dr. Sung Shin Kim, director of the East Asian studies program and professor of history, said this spring she advised 15 students in the new degree program, with seven of those in the Korean studies concentration.
The Japan Foundation grant allowed UNG to hire three faculty members for Japanese studies. That was the final piece of a puzzle built for more than a decade to form the East Asian studies degree offerings.
As the East Asian studies program grows, Kim and other faculty members are exploring additional partnerships with universities in Japan, South Korea and Taiwan.
A New Partner In India
Sharma connected with Dr. M.B. Srinivas, dean of BML Munjal’s College of Engineering and Technology, which led to the agreement. UNG and BML Munjal will work to form faculty and student exchanges through Sharma; Dr. Mohan Menon, management and marketing department chair in UNG’s Mike Cottrell College of Business; and Dr. Jeff Turk, director of IESA.
“Engagement between the oldest democracy and the largest democracy in the world is very important,” Sharma said. “It will be beneficial for both societies.”
With the expansion of UNG’s partnerships through language programs, East Asian studies and the Corps of Cadets, such relationships will continue to be a major player in UNG’s global footprint.