Lander's international initiative places focus on both sides of the Pacific

October 26, 2011
Caddie Chen and Boyoung Roh
Xiaohong "Caddie" Chen, left, is a visiting scholar from Shanghai, China, performing an internship in Lander University's Office of Student Affairs. Boyoung Roh, right, is Lander's coordinator of international programs, helping oversee the university's exchange agreements with colleges and universities in South Korea, China and Thailand.
Lander University's international initiative has created new opportunities for academic exchanges between Lander and nine colleges and universities in South Korea, China and Thailand.

The initiative is under the direction of Dr. Sung-Jae Park, dean of international programs. He is assisted by Boyoung Roh, like Park, a native of South Korea. She met Park in 2007 when she was an exchange student at Ball State University in Indiana, where he was on the faculty for many years.

Two years later, she obtained a bachelor's degree in English language and literature at Yeungnam University in Korea, now one of Lander's sister schools.

She returned to Ball State in 2009 and, two years later, she received a master's degree in teaching English to speakers of other languages and linguistics. In July of this year, she accepted Lander's offer to become the university's coordinator of international programs.

Roh and Park are supervising and arranging exchange agreements that have brought four Korean students to Lander as full-time students, and sent four Lander students to universities in Korea for a summer study program, and one for a full year of study.

Roh is a native of Daegu, in southern South Korea, where her parents still make their home. She also has a brother who lives and works in Seoul.

At Ball State, she was a graduate assistant in international student services and secretary of the Asian American Students Association. She also received scholarships and awards at Ball State and Yeungnam.

Park said, "Boyoung is very energetic, upbeat and hardworking, and always willing to learn new things and help those who need help."

Roh has been working closely with Xiaohong Chen, a visiting scholar from Shanghai Normal University (SHNU) in China, who has been performing an internship in Lander's Office of Student Affairs since August. She works in the student affairs office at the Chinese university and supervises a student union and volunteer group there.

Chen's home is in Shanghai where she grew up and went to school. She has

bachelor's and master's degrees in geography education from the Shanghai university's Tourism College and is a certified teacher.

She is known by the nickname "Caddie," which was given to her by her middle school English teacher in Shanghai. She said bestowing nicknames on students is a common practice in Chinese schools.

Chen is one of three teachers selected by her university to come to the U.S. as visiting scholars this year. She said SHNU places great importance on international cooperation and academic exchanges and added, "The university has established links with over 200 universities and educational institutions in more than 30 countries and regions."

While this is her first visit to America, some of the students she worked with in Shanghai are interns at Walt Disney World in Florida. She hopes to visit them and, maybe, travel to Washington, D.C., before returning home to China in January.

Chen is also assigned as an intern in Winthrop University's student affairs office. She said her work at Lander and Winthrop will provide her valuable and enriching experiences in western culture and higher education administration. She has also taken the opportunity to audit Montessori classes at Lander.

Chen taught a Chinese language course in Lander's Continuing Education program. It was her first experience teaching Chinese; she said she concentrated on basic words and expressions during the month-long course. There were 17 students in the class. "They were very interested, and I was surprised at how quickly they learned," she added.

Chen and Roh both learned to speak English as youngsters in elementary school. They explained that the governments and educational systems in their two countries emphasize teaching English to schoolchildren at an early age. They said while parents also want their children to learn to speak English as a second language, most companies in China and South Korea expect job applicants to be fluent in English.

The two women have enjoyed their experiences in the U.S. Roh described Americans as "very nice" and added that many of them are eager to be host families for foreign exchange students.

Chen said what she has seen of the U.S. is very beautiful and that she will encourage other students in China to come to Lander.