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    Local universities looking for challenges abroad

    24/06/2013Macau Daily Times

    International exchange programs or partnerships have been gradually introduced by universities around the world. If “no man is an Island”: higher education institutions understand that they cannot play a great role when standing alone and isolated from the rest of the academic community. Creating work relationships with other universities around the world seems the right path to take. In Macau, universities and other higher education institutions are trying to become “more global” and are hoping to increase their academic standards. With the current school year coming to an end, educational institutions in Macau are looking to sign further agreements with other universities around the globe and are setting up new partnerships in the coming year. This year, the University of Macau sent 250 students abroad, hoping to turn them into “citizens of the world” (to learn more read interview with Vice-Rector Simon Ho). The intention of the university is to raise the number of international students in the new campus, currently under construction on Hengqin Island. At City University of Macau (City U), the Faculty of International Tourism and Management (FITM) primarily aims to broaden students’ horizons. According to the Vice-Rector of City U and the Dean of FITM, Aliana Leong, the university has already signed a number of agreements to implement new programs within the next school year. Dubai and Florida are  a few of the main partnerships to focus on. Following a co-operation letter signed in February, students from Macau will be able to study and undertake internships at the Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management in Dubai and the Dubai Burj Al Arab Hotel respectively. The School of Hospitality Management at Florida International University is another recent partner, alongside Middlesex University (located in North London), Shangai Maritime University and the National University of Kaohsiung, both located in Nanzih (Taiwan). Alina Leong emphasized that “it is important for the university to celebrate these agreements, so it can develop further platforms for students, helping them to become more international and enhancing their horizons.” The Vice-Rector of City U added that international partnerships are crucial for both students and university members. She hopes that these relationships might “facilitate the exchange of ideas, enhance student activities and improve the learning outcomes as well as the quality of the education services” provided by City U. This year, the university received a total of 70 students through exchange programs. These students predominantly come from mainland China (45), the USA, Gambia, the Philippines, Hong Kong and Japan. Alina Leong highlighted that City U “expects more active program exchanges in the coming year.” From City U, twelve students departed for Orlando, Florida, in June. Other students will be heading to London, Dubai, Thailand and Singapore for cultural summer programs. In another part of the city, the Institute for Tourism Studies (IFT) is also planning the 2013/2014 school year. With total of fifteen percent non-local students, IFT received a total of 196 students from abroad this year, including those who came to Macau through exchange programs. The majority comes from mainland China, followed by Taiwan. 24 IFT students went abroad, with the Netherlands and the United States as the preferred destinations. According to IFT, “there has been a gradual increase of financial resources to promote research, conference participation and overseas exchange activities,” with the support of the government and of industry partners. IFT also sees the advantage in looking abroad: “through these international collaborations we are able to learn from other best practices and find room to improve ourselves.” This year, the Institute has co-operated with Cornell University, located in the USA, L’École Hôtelière de Lausanne (EHL), in Switzerland, and other institutions in Thailand, North Cyprus, Spain and France. For the coming year, a new agreement was signed with Cornell University, with a focus on food service management. The University of St Joseph (USJ) has celebrated agreements with international educational institutions: these include institutions in mainland China, Thailand, South Korea, Taiwan, the Philippines, Australia, Brazil and several countries in Europe. USJ has a close relationship with the Portuguese Catholic University who, alongside the Macau Diocese, runs the institution. The Macau Polytechnic Institute has agreements with multiple universities in mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, the United Kingdom, the United States of America, Australia and Portugal. There is also a special exchange program with the Polytechnic of Leiria (a city in the center of Portugal), focusing on the teaching of Portuguese and Chinese. Staff reporter    Copyright@MACAU DAILY TIMES
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