West meets East:
ME students take part in China Summer Program
tudents in Professor John Pfotenhauer’s summer section of Thermodynamics (ME 361) have taken learning out of the box—and all the way to Hangzhou, China.
As part of the China Summer Progam, 15 students receive six credits of engineering coursework (ME 361 and EPD 397, Technical Communication), taught by UW-Madison faculty at Zhejiang University. From June 2 to July 25, students spent four days a week in class alongside Chinese students who chose to audit the classes to improve their English language skills. In addition to their coursework, the students live on-campus, interact with students from other universities around the globe, view presentations on Chinese culture and navigate the city by using body language and a few gleaned words of Mandarin.
The UW-Madison students also have been able to share some American culture with the students at Zhejiang, from helping them with their English to giving presentations about life in the United States and Madison, Wisconsin. The cultural exchange even permeated recreation: A game of Frisbee among the students drew a crowd of onlookers.
“Over the course of the two hours or so, I would say around 30 people stopped to watch and take a picture at some point,” says sophomore Val Maharaj. “It probably is rare to see Americans playing Frisbee in front of a 40-foot-tall Mao statue.”