Thursday, September 7, 2017 - 2:15pm

The second Mercy College New York Language and Culture Institute concluded August 5 on the Dobbs Ferry campus. This four-week program provided 19 students from Shanghai Jian Qiao University (SJQU) an opportunity to improve English language skills while participating in cultural activities and trips focused on New York.

The Institute hosted nineteen computer science students from SJQU. Over the course of the four-week program, students' English language skills improved through activities including conversation circles, blog writing, digital story creation, and oral presentations. They learned about history of New York City in a mini-course extending from the Lenape (Native American) era to contemporary New York cultures and politics, taught by Dr. Saul Fisher, Executive Director for Grants and Academic Initiatives and Visiting Associate Professor of Philosophy. As the Institute’s final project, the SJQU students worked in groups to create digital stories about an aspect of New York culture experienced during the program.

Students engaged in informal learning through exploration of New York City. They visited the United Nations, 9/11 Memorial Museum, Metropolitan Museum of Art, and parks—and sampled New York’s diverse neighborhoods, cuisines, and shopping. In their free time, they also played basketball and soccer on campus with Mercy students, took in Broadway shows, and visited Washington, DC and Boston.

SJQU students were delighted with the program and their New York experience. One student commented, “My spoken English is better than before; it’s my first time in America and it’s a perfect trip.”

Mercy College and SQJU have a new and emerging collaboration aimed at providing SQJU students with opportunities to study at Mercy, and many of the students attending the Summer Institute hope to return to the College in the future.

The Institute’s leaders, Dr. Sheila Gersh, Director of Mercy’s Center for Global Engagement and Dr. Zhixiong Chen, Professor of Mathematics and Computer Science, agree that the program was a huge success and look forward to offering it to further cohorts in summer 2018 and beyond.

A prior Institute was offered by the Center for Global Engagement in 2012 to students from Aydin University (Istanbul, Turkey).