Studying at Texas State will now be an option for some Chinese students after administrators and government delegates from the city of Xishuangbanna exacted plans for a student and faculty exchange program Friday.
Following a discussion, representatives from Texas State and delegates from the city of Xishuangbanna signed a memorandum of agreement, a document that states an academic partnership between the school and the foreign city. Rosario Davis, learning specialist for the Intensive English Program, said through the signing of the memorandum of agreement, high school graduates in Xishuangbanna are permitted to participate in programs at Texas State including the Intensive English Program and the School of Music. She said the academic requirements for exchange would be identical to standard requirements.
“Texas State is equipped with many programs designed to provide a nice transition for students to ensure academic and social success,” Davis said.
Washington García, assistant director of the School of Music and co-coordinator of the exchange program, said the relationship sparked when he accompanied a Chinese delegation from Austin on a trip in April. García said in his position as cultural ambassador of the delegation, he traveled to several cities and performed concerts.
“(In Xishuangbanna), I had the opportunity to meet with the governor of the city,” García said. “In our meeting, there was a mutual interest in a possible exchange program, and I’m happy to see that coming to fruition.”
Tang Jiahua, vice governor of Xishuangbanna, said through a translator that Texas State’s proximity to its sister city, Austin, played a significant role in choosing the school for an exchange program.
“Austin is very rich in culture and music,” Jiahua said. “Our students can learn much from Texas.”
García said Texas State officials recently hosted a visit for students in Xishuangbanna, and they have already extended an offer for some to study in San Marcos.
“They must’ve gone back with a good review,” García said. “Shortly after (the students visited) we arranged a visit from the government of Xishuangbanna to sign the memorandum of understanding.”
Debbie Thorne, associate vice president for Academic Affairs, said the entire university is looking forward to hosting exchange students from Xishuangbanna in programs across the university in the future.
“We are all very excited about a fruitful partnership (with Xishuangbanna),” Thorne said.
García said exchange student programs will start as soon as possible. He is planning to return to the Chinese city in December to meet with students and conduct auditions to find candidates for the programs.