Marietta College hosts international visit from Chinese students

Just before midnight Sunday, a group of 25 Chinese students and two faculty members touched down at Columbus International Airport and began making their way to the campus at Marietta College.

The students, who traveled from the University for International Relations in Beijing, China, will be spending the next 10 days studying various aspects of the American culture as well as attending seminars led by the China Institute of Marietta College on ways to build and strengthen relationships within the international community.

"China is a country that's long been neglected in terms of the American awareness of Chinese culture," said Fraser MacHaffie, executive assistant to Marietta's President and Provost. "The visit to Marietta College is part of a larger program which has also taken students from the College to China."

Just as Marietta's students and faculty have traveled abroad to study the various cultures of other countries, the College has opened its campus up to the visiting Chinese students so they can also learn more about the U.S.

"There are major cultural differences and sometimes that can lead to major cultural misunderstandings, which affect international relations. These are students who are training for government service and diplomacy," MacHaffie said. "They're going to be in influential positions across the globe for China."

During their stay on campus, the students and faculty will participate in numerous seminars led by members of the Marietta faculty at the McDonough Center. One of the main projects the students will complete has them working in teams and selecting a U.S. foreign policy issue, such as the environment, that would involve China. The students would approach the issue as analysts whose job it is to offer recommendations to both governments. At the end of the 10-day seminar, the students would present their findings. Those analyses and recommendations may be forwarded to the U.S. State Department and/or the Chinese Foreign Ministry - with the approval of the UIR - if the presentations are of high quality.

The students will also visit with Marietta's Mayor Michael Mullen '82 to discuss how city governments operate and with former Ohio Lt. Gov. Nancy Putnam Hollister.

"I think it's a great opportunity to show no only the importance of Marietta College and the relationship with the international community, but also to show the broader perspective that a city and a college - or even governments - with mutual interests can integrate them in a more holistic manner," Mullen said.

After the 10-day seminar at the College, the students plan to tour Washington, D.C. and New York City.