by Melissa Ardery, Published November 26, 2012
Eastern Michigan University students, an alumna and a faculty member shared a once in a lifetime opportunity during Wuhan University's 10-year anniversary celebration, October 27. The university is located in Hubei, China.
Joel Schoenhals, an associate professor of piano at Eastern, led the Eastern delegation to Wuhan. Bing Li, an Eastern alumna, along with Alejandra Escobar and Maria Velasquez, both graduate students in the music performance program, accompanied Schoenhals on the trip.
Joel Schoenhals (left) with host Hua Ming
"The visit to Wuhan was one of the greatest experiences I have ever had," said Escobar from Colombia."Being immersed in the Chinese culture has enriched me as a person and as a musician. I have learned that music can be a means of cross-cultural understanding."
Eastern and Wuhan University have been developing duel-degree programs since 2011, creating global connections, and generating opportunities for EMU faculty to teach, travel and collaborate on research in China. The collaborative relationship and future opportunities were emphasized during the anniversary celebration.
The celebration represented a significant milestone for both universities. Since their partnership began, each institution has been committed to making culture, language and international education accessible to students, teachers, and researchers.
During the trip the Eastern delegates were able to build more connections within the music department, further enhancing a relationship that is beneficial to both schools.
"The commitment of both schools to educate students to be global citizens is impressive," said Schoenhals, who played the piano and performed an original Chinese piece during the concert.
"It was like being a part of a rock concert," Schoenhals said. "The whole event was televised and it was wonderful to see Eastern's pride celebrated internationally.
"The efforts of many of our faculty members were highlighted throughout the ceremony and the gratitude that was exhibited by both schools has expanded and strengthened our relationship."
For more information, visit Eastern's College of Arts and Sciences international agreements site.