Education Beyond Borders: VU offers life-changing opportunities for students from all over the world

Education Beyond Borders: VU offers life-changing opportunities for students from all over the world

VU offers life-changing opportunities for students from all over the world

November 11, 2021

International Education Week 2021: November 15-19

VINCENNES, Ind. – Students come from nearly all seven continents to study at Vincennes University, including Africa, Asia, Australia/Oceania, Europe, North America, and South America. The one exception is Antarctica, which is uninhabited.

VU is a welcoming campus for students, faculty, and staff. It is committed to promoting diverse student bodies. The University embraces the principles of inclusion and equal opportunity for all and provides educational settings in which students learn from each other across cultures and nationalities.

According to VU President Dr. Chuck Johnson, “Vincennes University serves students, faculty, and staff with many different experiences and backgrounds. The diversity of our University community and the communities offer all of our students opportunities to learn from others who have different perspectives and to interact with individuals from a myriad of cultures, countries, and states. Despite the challenges of the pandemic, VU maintained its commitment to educating future generations of leaders and professionals to not only understand, but to embrace diversity and to value everyone.”

In the wake of the global pandemic, VU implemented an international online cohort in October of 2020 that aligns with the United States' commitment to education beyond borders. 

Some students found themselves unable to travel to the U.S. because of restrictions and other issues. Consequently, VU leveraged its distance education program to continue its mission of providing access to high-quality education for all.

The first cohort included students from China, Korea, and India. Students outside of the U.S. get a head start on their education by taking VU online courses that help accelerate their progress toward a degree while they prepare to travel to VU to complete their program on the Vincennes Campus. Students in international cohort classes interact with faculty and each other in real-time during appropriate hours. All international cohort courses offer a live weekly office hour and some of the courses offer an additional live session with the office hour.

"This is the first time that VU Online has offered this type of cohort,” VU Assistant Vice President of Lifelong Learning Shanni Simmons said. "VU is dedicated to the success of all students, and that includes international students. This is an amazing opportunity for students outside of the United States to begin their degree program. They receive a high level of support and resources, and it gets them academically acclimated before they arrive in the U.S."

Earlier this year, VU announced first-of-its-kind partnerships which will grant high school students in Taiwan a chance to earn college credit online that is taught by VU faculty and can apply toward a VU degree. Students from Taipei Private Taibei High School (THS), Wagor International School (WIS), and other schools in the region can ultimately attend and continue their education in America on the Vincennes Campus or at other higher education institutions in the U.S.

The value and importance of international education are making headlines.

The U.S. Departments of State and Education expressed a “renewed U.S. commitment to international education” and the benefits of global academic engagement in a recently released joint statement. The statement noted U.S. students, researchers, scholars, and educators benefit when they engage with peers from around the world, whether overseas or through international education at home, and that all Americans need to be equipped with global and cultural competencies to navigate the ever-changing landscapes of education, international business, scientific discovery and innovation, and the global economy.

International Education Week (IEW) kicks off in a few days. It is a joint initiative of the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Education as an opportunity to celebrate the benefits of international education and exchange worldwide. It is being celebrated nationally from Nov. 15-19.

A rich history of supporting international students

Welcome to Indiana: The Crossroads of America

VU is proud to have a vibrant campus for students from all parts of the globe.

The spirit of international, cultural collaboration extends beyond the University. Vincennes shares a "Sister City" partnership with Xuyi County in Jiangsu Province, China.

Zixiao Ma is from China’s eastern province of Jiangsu. He enrolled at VU after graduating from a high school that has a relationship with VU. He wants to earn a degree from Purdue University and become a computer engineer. He has aspirations of working for a technology company in Boston. 

"This is a small town and most of the people I’ve met are so friendly,” he said. "My professors and the students are professional and friendly.”

VU is Indiana’s premier transfer institution and boasts more than 300 articulation agreements with many of the region’s most respected private and public four-year universities and colleges.

Attending a university where professors know you by name is what Junhao Dong of Shanghai, China likes best about VU.

“It’s small classes, so the professors can pay more attention to you and you can get better grades,” Dong said.

A rich history of supporting international students

VU has long been a popular choice for international students opting to go abroad in pursuit of higher education.

Beginning in the 1960s, the late businessman Dr. C.W. Chu wanted to make a difference in the lives of students in China. The C.W. Chu Foundation sponsored and provided scholarships for more than 450 Hong Kong students to study at VU from the 1960s to the 1980s. After beginning their studies in Vincennes, many of these students went on to earn advanced degrees at institutions such as Purdue University, Stanford University, MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), and others.

Administrative leaders from VU had a trip scheduled to China in early 2020. However, the visit was postponed due to the emerging global pandemic and travel restrictions. 

VU has extensive agreements with international universities especially through its China Initiative Program to create study and research opportunities for students and faculty. The University offers annual summer teaching programs for VU faculty in Jiangsu Province, China. VU also has exchange programs with universities in Japan.

It has served as a home away from home for many international students during the COVID-19 pandemic. Unable to return to their home countries due to travel restrictions or due to other reasons, VU continued to support international students and their families. Faculty and staff have kept in constant communication regarding students’ academic process, daily needs, their plans for the future, and more. By offering encouragement, care, and reassurance, they have also provided emotional support.

Xuejiao Shao, who is from Jiangsu Province, China, strongly believes VU set her up to be successful in college.

"I like Vincennes University’s good learning atmosphere and the good professors,” she said. “Vincennes University arranged for me to have a good advisor to help me choose appropriate classes.”

Life at VU extends beyond the classroom

Life at VU extends beyond the classroom

VU has created a warm and inclusive atmosphere for all. Where students, faculty, staff, and the community connect with other cultures and people from all over the world through various university-sponsored activities, events, and programs.

It hosts International Culture Nights where holidays from around the world are celebrated with food, music, professional performers, and more. International Education Week (IEW), a worldwide celebration that recognizes the benefits of international education and exchanges, is also on the University’s calendar and is filled with lots of activities. A trip to the Indy International Festival is also an annual affair that includes authentic foods, ethnic dance and music, culture booths hosted in traditional dress, artisans demonstrating unique cultural crafts, a naturalization ceremony, and an international marketplace offering gifts from around the world. Students also have the opportunity to experience and see all the U.S. has to offer during spring breaks trips to fun destinations.

At VU, we celebrate diversity and believe every person adds rich value to our experience.