Bryant's innovative Sophomore International Experience (SIE), now in its 10th year, is known as a formative personal and academic chapter in participants' lives. For the 66 members of Bryant Zhuhai's SIE group, their 14-day exploration of the United States this August was no different.
Their itinerary included excursions to Boston, New York City and Washington, D.C., but for many of the Bryant Zhuhai students, time spent on the Bryant campus was the highlight of the program. They attended faculty-led discussions, tried their hand at football, and met campus mascot Tupper.
Yuelin “Nancy” Xie ’20 appreciated the sense of community she felt on campus. “When I arrived at Bryant University, it [was] already midnight, but my counselor [was] still waiting for me. I felt very warm and genial.”
More than 20 percent of the members of Bryant Zhuhai’s inaugural class who visited the U.S. through SIE last year were inspired to transfer and continue their studies at Bryant’s Smithfield campus. Already, several participants in Bryant Zhuhai’s most recent SIE, including Lingyu “Athena” Zhang ‘20, are considering doing the same. Zhang enjoyed the opportunity to bond with classmates. “My favorite part is teamwork, like discussion in classes and beach volleyball game.”
Bryanna Haskell ’19, who served as mentor to Bryant Zhuhai students for both program trips, considers mentoring an important learning opportunity. "Watching students improve their English and see the United States for the first time is truly an eye-opening experience,” she said. “The program is a challenging experience when it comes to breaking through language and culture barriers. But these challenges make the program worthwhile to me because they remind me to always keep an open mind and remind me to encourage others to see past the barriers between people.”