YPSILANTI – You could see it in the smiles, in the animated conversation, and in the pictures. Yes, so many pictures and fun images.
The scene: A formal welcome for 27 visiting nursing students and faculty members from two universities in Taiwan, part of an annual summer visit by Taiwanese nursing students to Eastern Michigan University to learn about American nursing practices, the culture and – of course – to have some fun.
During July, Eastern Michigan University and the College of Health and Human Services is hosting two groups of visiting nursing students, from Hung Kuang University (HKU) and Chung Guang University of Science and Technology (CGUST) in Taiwan. The groups are staying in Wise Hall.
The contingent’s active schedules include visits to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, to Cedar Point and to Greenfield Village. The groups are attending a variety of lectures and discussions at Eastern, and visiting the University of Michigan Hospital, St. Joseph Mercy Hospital, and the John Dingell VA Medical Center in Detroit.
President James Smith spoke at the welcoming event, during which the visiting students presented him with a variety of special gifts and received Eastern souvenirs as well.
“I hope you make yourself at home here,” President Smith said. “Have fun, learn a lot … and have a great time visiting our hospitals. I hope you remember Eastern for the great place it is.”
The visits extend Eastern’s extensive efforts over the past three years to recruit and welcome international students to campus – one of President Smith’s priorities since he took office in the summer of 2016.
Tsu-Yin Wu, a professor of nursing at Eastern who is from Taiwan and has done extensive research in China and Taiwan, helped coordinate the trip along with Michael Williams, director of the School of Nursing; and William Pollard, director of special events at Eastern.
“Every year, I am reminded that a nurse’s heart is the same around the world – to love each other and make the world a better place,” Williams said. “And also that nursing students everywhere must study hard to learn our profession. We are very fortunate to have these relationships and learn from each other.”
Eastern Michigan has a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the two universities, indicating each institution’s intent to continue collaborating on such ventures. In late July and early August, 12 senior Nursing students from Eastern will visit HKU and other hospitals in Taiwan for a study abroad course in community health clinical practices.
Ling-Chun Chiang, a faculty member at HKU who helped oversee the trip last year as well, said the visit offers an array of new experiences and cultural immersion for the students, plus a chance to delve into the professional side of American nursing.
She said the visiting students are impressed with how American students tend to speak up in the classroom, and how people here accept differing ideas and yet can work together in such a diverse environment.
The goal, she said, was to get students thinking out of the box as to what nursing can and be in their homeland.
She also cited the emphasis on interprofessional education in the CHHS, noting how instructive such an approach is to students in building their understanding of various health-affiliated disciplines and how to work with other healthcare professionals.
Professor Chang said these are the nurses of tomorrow, and the trips help them to see how they can bring about change in what will always be a rapidly involving discipline.
“That’s our goal,” she said. (The idea that) we can do that at our university.”
About Eastern Michigan University
Founded in 1849, Eastern is the second oldest public university in Michigan. It currently serves more than 18,000 students pursuing undergraduate, graduate, specialist, doctoral and certificate degrees in the arts, sciences and professions. In all, more than 300 majors, minors and concentrations are delivered through the University's Colleges of Arts and Sciences; Business; Education; Health and Human Services; Technology, and its graduate school. EMU is regularly recognized by national publications for its excellence, diversity, and commitment to applied education. For more information about Eastern Michigan University, visit the University's website.