Heartland Community College has three partner colleges in China. Due to these partnerships, a number of Chinese and Heartland staff members have participated in exchanges and visits. As a result, our international activities have considerably increased throughout the last few years. As our programs develop with our partners, we intend to create more connections of cultural and international experiences to our campus environment to benefit both our student body and staff.
International Partnership at HCC
Heartland Community College has sent faculty and students to China for one-semester conversational English teaching assignments . Since it provides our faculty an immersion experience with the people, culture, and educational methods of China, the College is particularly interested in continuing this effort. Faculty interested in participating should note that one-year assignments are preferred.
Heartland has hosted three Visiting Professors: Lin Cui, Yamei Liu, and Zhongyu Tian. With the addition of our Chinese language classes, Heartland looks forward to continuing this aspect of our partnerships as it is especially beneficial to our students enrolled in Chinese language courses.
As Heartland recruits international students, selected staff members will travel to China to meet future students and their families. Thus far, we have admitted three classes of students from China into our Academic English Language Program (AELP). The next class is expected to begin in January 2009.
One of the goals of our international student program is to expose students to different aspects of American culture and society during their stay. To support this integration, we require student participation in two key programs, American Homes and Conversation Partners. American Homes provide students insight on typical everyday American activities and home life. Students do not reside in the homes of their American Home families. Instead, they are invited to participate in fun family activities with them. Students have particularly enjoyed activities such as: baking a cake with their American Home family, attending a sporting event or school function of a child in their "family," eating dinner in the family home, participating in Trick-or-Treating, receiving an Easter basket from their "family," etc.
Our other key program, Conversation Partners, offers students the opportunity to meet their peers. The weekly casual conversations provide a fun avenue for students to practice listening and speaking English while learning about college life. Mutual interests are discovered and friendships are often created through this program.
The International Office continues to look for ways for our students to share their culture with the campus and community. Thus far, our students have been featured at campus events (i.e. Brown Bag Series, International Fashion Show, Board of Trustees meetings, etc.), and have participated in several area events as well (local grade school presentations, Chinese New Year Celebration, International Fair, etc). The students benefit from the public speaking experience, are able to preserve their cultural identity, and enjoy the ability to meet and share their culture with others. Participants are also exposed to new ideas, able to ask questions, practice new language skills, and to become familiar with a country across the world. Anyone interested in inviting these students to participate in local/community events, please contact Pamela Sweetwood at (309) 268-8168
A number of faculty and administrators have visited Heartland. Each visitor's schedule is tailored to meet his or her purpose, discipline, language abilities, and timeframe. The International Office commonly arranges: meetings with the visitor's US colleagues, campus and community tours, planning meetings with administrators, welcome receptions, overviews of college and community programs, transportation and sight-seeing opportunities.
At the invitation of our sister colleges, Heartland campus representatives may participate in college events and meetings in China. These occasions contribute to developing our partnership relationship and in evaluating future projects.