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Exchange of experiences

Student exchange programs bring global diversity to the Mount

December 1, 2017

Whether they come from colleges within the United States or halfway around the globe, exchange students enrich and expand our global point of view.

 “The opportunity to participate in, and be enriched by, the global exchange of individuals, ideas, and innovations is part of what distinguishes a Mount education,” says Eric Apfelstadt, PhD, director of the Center for Global Initiatives.

This fall, the University hosted its largest group of exchange students to date. From our partner universities, 13 students came from China and Japan. For the spring semester, a total of 10 students from China and Japan will enroll at the Mount.

Along with eight other private Catholic schools across the country, our university also participates in the Association of Colleges of the Sisters of Saint Joseph (ACSSJ) Student Exchange Program. This program is designed to expand students’ intellectual horizons by taking a semester at a different university. This fall, two students from Chestnut Hill College in Pennsylvania came to the Mount as part of the ACSSJ program.

The Mount also participates in the Yes We Must Coalition’s Student Exchange. Thirty small, private colleges and universities are part of this program. Many students enrolled in Yes We Must Coalition schools come from low-income households and are the first in their families to attend college. In the spring, we will host our first exchange student through this program, from the College of Saint Elizabeth in New Jersey.

President Ann McElaney-Johnson recently signed an agreement with Richmond, the American International University in London. This agreement will allow students who complete Richmond’s new associate degree in film studies to transition to the Mount and obtain a bachelor of arts in film and media. “Richmond draws its students from around the world, so this bodes well for the further internationalization of our campuses here in Los Angeles,” said Apfelstadt.

While our exchange students are here, they participate in both academics and extracurricular activities. This fall, many exchange students studied an additional foreign language through the Department of Language and Culture. They joined the French Club for an outing to the Getty Center. They participated in the annual Study Away Fair with other internationally minded students. Thanks to the efforts of Jacqueline Ha-Maki, international student and scholar services specialist for the Center for Global Initiatives, they enjoyed visiting locations around Los Angeles, such as Universal Studios and Disneyland. Professor Katherine Whitman and her husband, Jeff, who is a Mount regent, will host the exchange students in their home for a touch of Christmas cheer before the students return home.


A student's gratitude

Beibei Qin, an exchange student from China, shares her experience at Mount Saint Mary’s in Fall 2016 with other students at Nanjing University.

Mount Saint Mary’s has had a long partnership with Nanjing University in China through the Mount’s Bridging Cultures program, which started in 2000 as a way to bring visiting scholars and exchange students from China to our campuses. Nanjing University now has an MSMU Exchange Program Club for students to share their experiences at the Mount and provide assistance to those who are interested in the exchange program. One of those students is Beibei Qin, who studied at the Mount in fall 2016. Following is a letter she wrote to Eric Apfelstadt, PhD, director of the Mount’s Center for Global Initiatives, after she returned home to China.


Exchange student Beibei Qin, from China's Nanjing University, saw this rainbow on her last day at the Chalon Campus in fall 2016.

Dear Eric,

I have been at home for four days.  I have shared my experiences with my parents, grandparents, classmates and friends. 

These days, I always wake up in darkness because of jet lag.  I begin to recall everything and everybody in MSMU.  I can remember sunshine, mountain scenery, professors' voices, different smells in different areas and even different feelings of pushing different doors. It is hard to believe I have left.  People usually describe that they miss something so much that what they miss even becomes visible and touchable.  I could hardly believe that before. But now I can tell the feeling.

The photo in the attachment is a rainbow I saw just on the morning I left.  I brought my luggage to the circle and was about to leave.  There was a little rain as well as fascinating morning glow.  I turned back to take a last look.  I saw the amazing rainbow behind Brady Hall and Church in great surprise.  I feel that I was blessed with the best farewell gift in the world. 

I have grown up a lot in MSMU.  I will work harder with gratitude to everyone in the MSMU for their kindness.  Especially, thank you so much for helping me all the time and telling me so many interesting things about America.

At the end of my every meditation class, we always sang "may the long time sunshine upon you" together for people we care about.  I still keep singing that.  Best wishes to everyone and everything in the MSMU, especially to you.  We all miss you much, especially me J

I will surely come back.