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Rick Carter (back row, middle, center) stands among the recent WESL (Western's English as a Second Language) graduates, including the 28 students from Shanghai/Donghai Vocational and Technical College who spent five weeks at WIU during Spring 2014.
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Center for International Studies Continues Global Initiatives on WIU Campus

March 27, 2014

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MACOMB, IL -- From China to Brazil and beyond, 50 countries from across the globe are represented at Western Illinois University.

The Center for International Studies (CIS) faculty and staff, led by Rick Carter, executive director of the School of Distance Learning, International Studies and Outreach, have been traveling throughout the U.S. and abroad to share what WIU has to offer students from overseas. Recently, 28 English as a Second Language (ESL) students from Shanghai/Donghai Vocational and Technical College called Western's Macomb campus home for five weeks as they undertook intensive ESL training and took part in a variety of cultural experiences. This is the second delegation of students from Shanghai/Donghai Technical to study ESL at Western. The exchanges are the result of a visiting scholar relationship WIU has in place with the technical college, Carter explained.

The partnership between WIU and Shanghai Donghai Technical College began last year when Nolan Zuo accepted an invitation to serve as a visiting scholar at Western during the 2012-13 academic year. Zuo returned to China following the end of the Spring 2013 semester, and Shanghai Donghai President Xiang Jiaxiang visited in May 2013 to tour Western's campuses and visit with University officials.

"By participating in these programs, we extend Western Illinois University's reach," Carter added. "We have so much to offer students from other countries, and these countries have so much they can provide to our campus community."

In addition to the group from China, 15 students from Brazil arrived in Macomb March 10 to begin ESL training before transitioning to numerous WIU degree programs. In September 2013, the first group of Brazilian students enrolled at Western as part of a partnership with the Institute for International Education (IIE) to host the students from the Brazil Scientific Mobility Program (BSMP). The BSMP is an initiative of the president of Brazil to provide up to 100,000 scholarships abroad, funding scholarship recipients' tuition, living expenses and travel and providing J-1 visa sponsorship. The IIE matches students with host institutions by field of study (STEM emphasis) and other individual criteria.

"David Bell, the director of Western's English as a Second Language (WESL) program, and the WESL staff, work closely with these partnership programs. They provide not only incredible learning opportunities for these students, but enriching cultural and social experiences," Carter added.

Beginning Fall 2014, as the result of Bell's visit to Iraq in Summer 2013, 11 graduate students from that country will enroll at Western, along with 10 students from Konan Women's University in Japan. Carter, Bell and other CIS faculty and staff are working with other countries to establish partnerships for both short-term and long-term ESL training, as well as with degree programs. During the 2013-14 academic year, Carter has visited embassy officials in Washington, D.C. from Myanmar (Burma), Ireland, Kazakhstan, Costa Rica, Korea, Indonesia, Malaysia and Spain.

Next month, officials from International Language and Business Centre in Myanmar will visit Western to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the two schools, and to plan for an on-campus residential institute for educational leaders, which will be held April 28-May 23. A wide selection of current topics in educational leadership, educational and interdisciplinary studies and curriculum and instruction in the United States will be presented for the institute by WIU faculty. The curriculum is coordinated by Carol Webb, educational leadership, Gloria Delany-Barmann, educational and interdisciplinary studies, and Anne Gregory, curriculum and instruction. A comprehensive schedule of extracurricular activities will also provide an introduction to cultural, historical and social facets of American life. The Office of Non-Credit Programs and the Center for International Studies are providing administrative and planning support to the project.

For more information on WIU's international initiatives and international study opportunities, contact CIS at (309) 298-2501 or

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