This summer, Heartland welcomed 39 Chinese delegates from China as part of the International Institute for Teaching and Learning (IITL). The delegates arrived June 23from 14 different institutions within Jiangsu Province, China. During their eight-week stay, the delegates experienced the American educational system, language and culture.
The 2014 program concluded on Monday, August 11 with a poster presentation, commencement ceremony and luncheon. During the poster presentation, delegates displayed and discussed detailed information on their institutions and took some time to reflect on their experience at Heartland. “I really liked the program,” said Wang Shui of Wu Xi Higher Health Technology School. “It really opened our eyes and gave us great ideas. We’ll take those ideas back to our schools.”
Taking ideas back to China is exactly what the IITL program is set up to do. During their time in the program, delegates take several courses on language studies, culture, teaching methods and the overall American community college system. Delegates also participate in a variety of social events, field trips and visits to major cities. While addressing the crowd at the commencement ceremony, HCC board chairman Gregg Chadwick mentioned the program’s true success is measured by participants having the excitement to share what was learned with others.
The delegates are not the only ones to benefit from the IITL program. “Heartland has benefited from your visit,” said Rick Pearce, Vice President for Learning and Student Success. “We have become a better college with a better understanding of what is happening in the world.”
During the commencement ceremony, each delegate received a certificate and each school received a gift from Heartland to take home.
Following the ceremony, the delegates and HCC faculty and staff gathered for lunch where the delegates received awards for a variety of things from being the best photographer to having the cutest pajamas. Songs were sung, a reader’s theater was performed and lots of laughs and memories were shared. “I’ll always remember how nice and helpful the teachers were,” said Hao (Sunshine) Zhongna of Nanjing Communications Institute of Technology. “I am excited to take home everything I learned.”
Heartland has a history of being actively involved in international activities and partnerships, particularly with China. The College has hosted a Chinese school for youth, arranged incoming and outgoing visiting professors and sponsored a community-wide Chinese New Year celebration. The IITL is a natural outgrowth of these relationships.
Since its start in 2012, the IITL has served 134 faculty members from more than 30 vocational and technical colleges in China.