Thirteen design students from Xi’an University of Technology in Shaanxi, China, spent two weeks at NIU as part of what both universities hope will be the start of a series of exchanges between the two universities.
The students spent a week studying under School of Art and Design Assistant Professor Perrin Stamatis and Instructor Johnathon Strube working on a poster project as though they were promoting an exhibit on contemporary Chinese culture at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago.
The students also attended an information session where art graduate students shared their experiences at NIU. On Saturday, July 1, they spent the day on an interdisciplinary art design project where they built a bridge. They also saw a presentation on American film, movies and media by Associate Professor of English Tim Ryan.
They visited the Art Institute of Chicago, the Field Museum, toured art studios, went on an architecture cruise in Chicago, and attended a barbecue at the home of Drew and Tracie Wells.
Li Chenyang, a second-year student at Xi’an said she and her classmates appreciated the support and hospitality from everyone at NIU. “It was an honor to represent the students at Xi’an here on our visit to the United States,” she said. “We experienced a different way to learn here, and Perrin and Johnathon worked hard and helped us try our best.”
Guo Hua, an instructor at Xi’an said she was “astounded” by the progress of the students in their short time on campus. “When we first arrived, most of the students could not speak English well,” she said. “But after a week, they were comfortable enough to give their poster presentations in English.”
Strube thanked the students for, “never being stifled and always attacking whatever changes came up.” Stamatis thanked the students for bringing their varied design backgrounds together and thanked the iPhone app iVoice for helping the group through a few tricky translation challenges.
The visit from the students of Xi’an University was made possible by the work of Program Director Pingping Ren and NIU’s International Training Office, under the leadership of Director Lina Davide-Ong, Program Coordinator Leslie Shive and graduate assistants Mia Huang, and Yasong Yang. They worked together to plan, arrange, and administer the program. Both NIU and Xi’an University of Technology have expressed interest in continuing the partnership between the two universities.