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2015 Winter Columbia Classroom

Date:2015-03-16   Author:   From:IESC

On January 2015, the Columbia Classroom Program hosted two classes of students from Dongbei University of Finance and Economics (DUFE) and Qing Dao University(QDU). They worked in collaboration with each other in this year's IESC program, along with students from the University of International Business and Economics (UIBE) and Gurangdong University of Foreign Studies (GUFS).  Arriving separately on the east and west coasts of the United States, all of the 40 students started their 14-day adventure with excitement and enthusiasm for what they were about to experience, starting with .

IESC customized the content of the Columbia Classroom Program (CCP) courses based on the student’s business background and career interests. The courses were taught by very experienced, Columbia University educated experts and were designed to integrate knowledge and practical skills. The students experienced for the first time new classroom techniques, especially “experiential group learning”, which is a learning method commonly used in US classrooms.

Various topics and subjects were covered such as: SWOT business analysis techniques, cross-culture communication skills, team building activities, and skills in public speaking. 

At the conclusion of CCP, students were required to make a “team presentation” before a panel of course instructors and experts. Each team presented their analysis of a company using the knowledge and skills taught during the course. Their time was limited and they were under a lot of pressure. However, all students organized their PowerPoints, prepared and practiced their presentations, and handled the panel’s questions well. The smiles and applause at the end showed how much the students were pleased with what they had accomplished and the panel was impressed by the results. 

An important part of “experiential learning” includes real-life learning experiences that relate to the classroom, academic learning. Therefore, to deepen students' understanding and learning, IESC organized visits to two international companies to demonstrate how business is conducted. The student’s visited Architectural Testing, Inc., in Pennsylvania and Rose Brand in New Jersey. Each company welcomed the students, gave them a tour of the company’s facilities, and executives at each company gave comprehensive presentations on, each company’s business management, strategies and operations, career development, and business culture. The students asked insightful questions and the experience gave the students a good chance to reflect on what they learned beyond their textbooks. 

In addition to Columbia Classroom experience and the company visits, the students also enjoyed traveling around five cities along east and west coasts of the USA. They visited New York, Philadelphia, Washington D.C., Los Angeles, and San Francisco. In these cities, they visited historical sites, museums, memorials, theme parks, beaches, and if that were not enough, they also walked around and learned about four of the top universities in the world. 

Fourteen days of learning, visiting, shopping, eating, photographing, meeting many Americans, and just having fun, gave the students a deep understanding of American culture. Clearly, the IESC Columbia Classroom Program has created many memories, ones that will last a lifetime. A testimony of these beautiful pearls of memories can be found in these comments selected from student reviews after the program: 

" I finally learned some real American culture." " This trip renewed my superficial understanding of U.S." "I had many first time experiences, and great memories." "I knew many great friends from this trip."

The IESC group leaders and staff of the Columbia Classroom Program thank the students and their parents for giving us all a chance to create such experiences, memories, and new friends. We wish everyone of the 2015 Columbia Classroom Program continued friendship. 

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