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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Exchange Rate Improves at UMB

UMass Boston’s selling point for many students is its diversity, something pointed out often by those within and outside of the university. Adding to one of the most noted attributes is a bridge program between Tsinghua University in Beijing and UMass Boston, where Tsinghua students had the opportunity to come to the U.S. and take part in the American education experience.

“This is our third year of the program,” Stan Wanucha, Director of the International Program, said. “It started in the fall of 2005 when eight students came over. Last year, 20 students came and 10 participated in [the University Preparation] program. This year, we have more than 40 students, and 23 participate in our English program. We think there will be 80 to 100 students in the program next year, and expect at that point to have them spread about among here, Amherst, Dartmouth and Lowell.”

Students from Tsinghua have been in Boston for almost four months, coming to the city after completing a course to prepare them for the study abroad life in the U.S., working on language skills, computer skills and becoming familiar with the way classes are taught in America.

“I chose UMass Boston because I dreamt of United States when I was very young, and my parents encouraged me all the way,” Vincent Guo, one of the exchange students, said. “This university’s education for undergraduate is very nice. I knew that when I was in Tsinghua University last year, it had an exchange program and had cooperation with UMass Boston. I even attended a presentation by the former chancellor when he visited us May this year to introduce the information about UMass Boston, and I felt that this would be a good choice for me.”

Through Tsinghua’s Center of Academic and Cultural Exchange, these students were able to decide which university they would like to go to out of those with whom they have partnerships. UMass Boston is one of two American universities offered.

“The COACE provided several school choices for us,” Rock Zhang, another exchange student, said. “UMass Boston was the best American university in those options, and it [has] a strong media major, so I chose UMass Boston.”

It costs students in the program around $10,000 a year, $2,000 of which goes toward their living expenses.

“I already knew that the university didn’t offer housing,” Zhang said. “Before we came to Boston, some staff of UMass Boston provided some hous[ing] options, such as living in an apartment or staying at a host house.”

Many of the exchange students are living together in two-bedroom apartments in Harbor Point, dividing the cost of $1540 a month in rent.

“The director in charge of us helped us rent the apartment in Harbor Point before we came here,” Guo said. “So I am living in Harbor Point together with friends that I know because of this program.”

Despite the lack of housing, a common hang up for many students, they are enjoying the time they spend in the city and are glad that they made the decision to attend UMass Boston.

“So far, my life at UMass Boston is amazing,” Guo said. “Boston is the city that I dreamed it to be. [There are] a lot of fresh things for me I have never experienced. School is also not bad; my director [has] helped me, helped every one of us a lot. I love living and study[ing] here, and also enjoy my work in the [Healey] library.”

“I still feel my English skills limited my expression in the class, especially critical thinking skills and the note[taking] skills,” Zhang said. “Except that, I love the strong academic atmosphere, the beautiful school campus and free tutoring. Boston is a wonderful city, with a convenient transport system and unbelievable weather.”