For the First Time, MCLA Students to Study in China in Exchange with the Shanghai Institute of Foreign Trade


NORTH ADAMS, MA - In fall 2010, a group of Chinese students from the Shanghai Institute of Foreign Trade (SIFT) came to Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) to spend a semester abroad in the United States. This fall, for the first time, MCLA students will attend SIFT for a semester in China.

The four MCLA students, who include business major Jon Phelps '12 of Lanesboro, Mass., international business major Jenny Rosario '12 of Brooklyn, N.Y., and  Brennon Stockton '12, an international business major from Pittsfield, Mass., will attend classes at SIFT's International School of Business, School of International Studies and School of Languages.

In addition, while the MCLA students study in Shanghai this fall, six students from SIFT and four students from Hebei University in Baoding, China, will attend the College. According to Ben Kahn, an economics professor at MCLA, the exchanges between the U.S. and China are important.

"Because the U.S. population is less than 5 percent of the global population, we need to understand the global community," Kahn said. "Our students' future leadership will play an important role in understanding business and economic issues between the U.S. and China."

MCLA's students will be in China Sept. 1 through Dec. 30, unless they wish to extend their exchange for an additional semester. Several of the Chinese students who studied at MCLA last fall chose to stay on for the spring semester.

Both Rosario and Phelps have visited China before, when they participated in a travel study course taught by Kahn.

"I had an amazing experience in China," Phelps said. "Nine days just wasn't enough to experience everything that such a different and fascinating culture has to offer. What could be better for a business major than studying in one of the most proficient, multi-national corporate cities in the world? I expect to learn about the Chinese ways of doing business and to take full advantage of learning about international relations first-hand."

This will be Stockton's first visit to China.

 "China is a country that has had so little but has done so much. It's incredible," Stockton said. "When it comes to education, I believe that we will attain a new sense of knowledge in and out of the classrooms. It's time for a new generation to step up and see what it can do."

Already part of the local business community through his job at Greylock Federal Credit Union, Stockton will bring his experience back to the Berkshires upon his return.

"We are so proud that Brennon was selected to represent MCLA and the U.S. in this overseas program," said Marilyn Sperling, president and chief executive officer of Greylock. "Brennon has diligently continued to improve his skills through ongoing education, which we have supported with our tuition reimbursement benefit. We look forward to welcoming him back to Greylock when he returns."

MCLA offers students the opportunity to learn about China first-hand through travel courses, business classes, faculty exchanges and post-graduation teaching positions. Since 1995, the College has enjoyed a co-sponsorship agreement with the Shanghai Institute of Foreign Trade (SIFT) and the Sage Colleges of New York, created to promote educational, economic and institutional exchanges among the three institutions.

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