News - Four Years. Two Degrees. A World of Opportunities.

Four Years. Two Degrees. A World of Opportunities.

by Rachel Heston-Davis Four Years. Two Degrees. A World of Opportunities.

A partnership between Greenville University and the Overseas Education College of Xiamen University (XMUOEC) will make a “3+1” program available to Chinese students who study abroad at Greenville University. XMUOEC is an institution of higher learning within Xiamen University, one of China’s premiere educational institutions. It serves 85,000 students through 18 schools and a group of research institutes. 

The first three years of the 3+1 program include Greenville University’s unique University Pathways intensive English language program, followed by its bachelor’s program in business and additional XMUOEC classes online in the evening.

Students who finish this rigorous process will receive a bachelor’s degree in business from Greenville University and can immediately enroll in its one-year MBA program. For those who stay on schedule, this could yield two degrees in four years.

According to VP for International Affairs Norm Hall, the program offers students “a very low [financial] rate and a very high-quality education in a short period of time.”

Extended Stay

The length of time students will spend at Greenville University distinguishes this XMUOEC partnership from many similar international partnerships in higher education.

“It gives us more time with the students here on the ground at Greenville, and there’s tremendous opportunity for ministry,” Hall points out. Chinese students gain a stronger grasp on American culture, as they will spend years living abroad and visiting the homes of host families.

The program also holds potential for expansion. Hall believes it could eventually offer other degrees, such as digital media, engineering or other popular programs. He is hopeful that the program could someday offer students a dual degree from XMUOEC as well.

International Passion

Larry Linamen, who served as the president of Greenville University (then College) from 2009-2012, laid the foundation for a strong international student body when he initiated the University Pathways program. Current President Ivan Filby continues to emphasize international connection. Under Filby’s presidency, the University has seen rising numbers of international students in the past few years. 

More than 50 international students called Greenville University home during spring semester 2017. They arrived from Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Hong Kong, Korea, China, Japan, Spain, Belgium and Canada.

Chinese students comprise the largest demographic of international students at the University, and the partnership with XMUOEC creates yet another inroad for Chinese high school graduates.

Connecting East and West

The initiative comes at a time when China is focusing on its “belt and road” program. This massive project intends to establish major infrastructure routes to connect Europe and Asia for trade, reminiscent of Marco Polo’s ancient Silk Road. With the belt and road initiative comes a focus on China being the connection point between East and West; this means even greater interest in sending Chinese students abroad to gain exposure in other cultures. 

Hall recently attended a conference in Xiamen, China, where he presented an explanation of the Greenville/XMUOEC partnership to more than 800 participants including faculty, staff, administrators and other influencers in Chinese higher education. Hall made the case that smaller institutions such as Greenville University provide international students with deeper opportunities for connection and cross-cultural learning.

Learn more:

One-Year MBA Program Adds to International Growth at GC

University Pathways Success Stories

University Pathways Welcomes New Director of Student Services

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This story was published on July 24, 2017

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