GLENVILLE, WV – Glenville State College Associate Professor of Spanish and Director of International Programs Dr. Megan Gibbons recently spent time in China as part of the Confucius Institute of West Virginia University which hosted a delegation of education administrators from the Mountain State. The group consisted of four representatives from primary schools, three from middle and high schools, and three from colleges and universities who were invited to participate in the twelve-day visit. The trip was designed to explore possible collaborations between educational institutions in West Virginia and in China and to allow the representatives to learn firsthand about Chinese culture through language, art, history, food, geography, and more.
Gibbons had the opportunity to visit five educational institutions including two universities, Tianjin University of Finance and Economics and Tianjin University of Science and Technology. While visiting these universities, she was able to discuss the possibility of arranging faculty/student exchanges, as well as developing virtual exchange opportunities through GSC’s Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL) Program with university officials.
The group was also able to take part in cultural sightseeing at The Great Wall, The Forbidden City, Tian’anmen Square, Tianjin Museum, Tianjin Art Museum, Jin Mai Tower in Shanghai, and a night cruise on the Huangpujiang River in Shanghai.
“Everything about this trip was memorable from Shanghai’s magnificent illuminated nighttime skyline to the Confucius Institute Headquarters’ interactive displays about Chinese paper cutting and the Peking Opera. Tianjin surprised us with its understated beauty and with its parks full of choral groups, ballroom dancers, and practitioners of tai chi. The food was plentiful and delicious even if our chopstick skills never quite mastered those never-ending noodles. The people we met – professors, administrators, teachers, students, tour guides, even strangers in the streets – were welcoming and kind,” said Gibbons.
A highlight of the trip came when musicians in the National Band of Tianjin University of Finance and Economics performed a special arrangement of Take me Home, Country Roads (one of West Virginia’s official state songs) for the group on traditional Chinese instruments. Elementary student also sang songs, performed dances, and offered the delegation hand-made gifts of paper fans and sculptures.
GSC students who are interested in studying abroad in China should contact Gibbons in the Office of International Programs at Megan.Gibbons@glenville.edu or (304) 462-6321.