ESU Welcomes Chinese Students to Sport Science Symposium

Posted by: Elizabeth Richardson on July 27, 2017, No Comments

On July 15 a group of 25 students from two universities in China came to the United States for a three week program called the East Stroudsburg University Sport Science Symposium. The symposium, now in its third year, is specifically designed for the college students and professors of sport-related majors. The three-week program offers a unique opportunity to learn advanced knowledge and research from a group of professors in the fields of physical education, exercise science, athletic training, health education, and sport management. This year the students came from Beijing Sport University and Chengdu Sport University.

It takes a lot of planning to bring the symposium to fruition each year. Professor of Physical Education Gene White, Ph.D., and Associate Professor of Exercise Science Peng Zhang, Ph.D., plan and coordinate the curriculum with ESU faculty and staff. Sarah Goodrich, coordinator of conference services, arranges housing and meals for the group of visiting students. Steve Ives, interim director of international programs, coordinates the students’ visas and arranges their international travel.

The coursework includes topics such as introduction to American football, advanced recondition and corrective exercise, sports management in the U.S., and sexual education in American schools. The students also have a chance to discuss graduate school at ESU with Kevin Quintero, graduate admissions coordinator, should they be interested in returning to the U.S. to further their education.

“You’ve spent over 30 hours traveling to get here,” Dr. White told the group during an opening ceremony. Dr. Zhang translated. “You are not just here to learn from us; we expect to learn from you too.”  Three ESU students also partaking in the program hope to do just that – learn from their peers.

Rebecca Rutkowski, a senior majoring in physical education from Wilkes Barre, Pa. reiterated White’s sentiment. “I want to learn from you while you learn from me,” she told the students from China. Matthew Trout, a sophomore majoring in physical education from Port Carbon, Pa. saw his involvement as a chance to prepare for his future. “To be given the opportunity to be a part of this group is an example of how ESU is preparing us to teach in any city or state in America or any country in the world,” he said.

Wenxiao Shang, a graduate student studying professional and secondary education, gave everyone a piece of advice. “Alvin,” as he is called in America, is from Beijing, China, and came to ESU to further pursue his education. “It’s all about the experience,” he told the students in Chinese. Then, in English, he told them, “take this experience in. Take it all in and enjoy it.”

While the group is at ESU to learn about sport-related majors, they also come eager to learn American culture. When the group arrived Associate Professor of English Cynthia Leenerts, Ph.D., asked them what kind of things, outside their major, they’d like to learn. Some students answered they’d like to learn how to order food or get advice for job interviews. Some were interested in learning about sports, and others, shopping. The most common things this group of Chinese students was interested in learning was American culture, history, and politics.

They’ll have a chance to learn about all of their interests while they are here. Throughout the three-week program there are 11 spoken English lessons that will help the students hold conversations about topics that interest them. They’ll have plenty of opportunities to explore the Pocono Mountains including shopping at The Crossings Premium Outlets, hiking the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area and Bushkill Falls, and cooling off at Camelbeach Mountain Waterpark. Field trips to New York City, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C., will introduce the group to American culture, history and politics.

The group also took part in a talent show while on campus. Photos of the talent show are available here.

Dr. White and Dr. Zhang will continue to grow this program. They hope to include more ESU students next year and to someday participate in a similar program at a Chinese University.