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SBU Goes Global...
plans to increase international undergrads to 5%

 Four of the 21 new freshmen from mainland China

by Yuyu Shen

On September 19th the Admissions Office held a welcome dinner for the new international undergraduate students from mainland China in the Wang Center Chapel. According to Provost Robert McGrath, in an effort to give SBU undergraduates - who are mostly from New York - a broader global perspective, the University would like to increase international enrollment to 5%.

Two years ago the University began doing extensive outreach to China and this year had a wonderful response. Twenty-one students were admitted as degree candidates and another 19 are in the Intensive English Center. If their English improves enough for acceptance, they too could become degree candidates.

SBU now has sixty students from the mainland on campus. Associate Dean of Admissions for China Recruitment Jiuhua Chen will be visiting China again this fall and Senior Admissions Counselor Stav Boutsis is there now.

The guest of honor for the evening was Provost Robert McGrath. He has visited China twice in the past year for SUNY negotiations for a joint program with a Chinese university. Also on hand to welcome the students were the Vice President of Student Affairs Peter Baigent, the Dean of Admissions Judy Berhannon, Distinguished Professor of Chemistry Benjamin Chu, the Chair of China Studies Agnes He, and a host of other faculty who act as informal advisors. Assistant Director of Programming for the Wang Center, Jianping Schoolman, asked the students questions about the Wang Center and gave prizes to the first to answer correctly.

Many of the officials addressed the students and told them they had two roles to play. They were not only ambassadors from China to America, when they talked to their friends back in China, they would be ambassadors from Stony Brook. Being someone new can be a lonely experience, and being new far from home without anyone you know even lonelier. This year the Chinese students will be able to help each other acculturate.

And after hearing from Yimin Chen, a transfer student from Zhejiang University who came last year, it certainly seems as though they will someday go back to China as wonderful ambassadors. We asked him to write about his experience, and this is some of what he said:

After spending the whole summer in China, I returned to this place, a place once I didn't like very much. Unexpectedly, I felt a subtle impulse from the bottom of my heart, telling myself that I had missed this campus and the people here. Sky was so bright but not dazzling anymore, people were smiling amicably but not with mock like before. I suddenly realized that I began to have affections to this school, I even said hi to stranger on the first day of class. That feeling was amazing. 

We hope that everyone on campus learns to smile and say hi too to the strangers in their midst learning to appreciate our campus. Remember that they are struggling through the same Biochem exams while having to translate the English back into Chinese in their heads at the same time. I know - 5 years ago I came to the US as a high school student. It's hard - but ultimately worthwhile.

Most of all to the Chinese students, I would tell them to get involved in campus activities, not just their courses. Just in working for the E-Zine I have had the opportunity to go to my first professional hockey game and meet Charles Wang, and I put on my own TV show on Asian pop music. At the same time I am able to keep in touch with my roots through the Chinese Literature Club. Stony Brook has a lot to offer you and you have a lot to offer Stony Brook!  

Photos from the dinner are online at


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