Tag #Virtual Student Exchange
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  Universities have adopted technology into its teaching to enhance learning experience for students. Now, more than ever, digital technology is utilized to support international education. The Association of Pacific Rim Universities (APRU), a network of 60 leading universities in the Americas, Asia and Australasia, brings to its students an exclusive opportunity to connect with peers from around the world to learn new knowledge and skills, exchange ideas and cultures, and develop connections vital for success in the 21st Century.   The APRU Virtual Student Exchange (VSE) Program, led by The Chinese University of Hong Kong, makes international education accessible by allowing students to take academic courses and participate in co-curricular programs without the need to leave home. It opens up international education for all students by providing an immersive virtual student exchange experience through digital technologies and platforms and creating encounters with new ideas, cultures, experts, academics and students from around the world.  
APRU Virtual Student Exchange Program Website
APRU SDG Education for Global Citizenship
1 November 2022 – 20 March 2023 – Online Program
November 1, 2022 - March 24, 2023
Showcase your creativity for Earth Day 2022: 1 entry from you = 30 trees planted by us.
Submit your entries by April 30 and turn your creativity into meaningful action to invest in our planet!   The three entrants with “best entries” will each be awarded with one Amazon Kindle e-book reader (the prize).
April 19, 2022 - April 30, 2022
Congratulations to the Winners of the APRU VSE Earth Day Challenge!
Original Post on APRU VSE The APRU Virtual Student Exchange (VSE) Program commemorated Earth Day 2022 by challenging students across the Pacific Rim to share their creativity through art to highlight the Earth Day theme, “Invest in Our Planet.” Congratulations to the winners: Ng Hei Yi (The Chinese University of Hong Kong), Daniela Álvarez (Universidad de Chile), and Leung Pui Yee (The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology). Twenty-four students across 13 APRU universities submitted inspiring entries ranging from poetry, videography, to graphic design. The winning entries and four other featured entries are showcased on this page. The APRU VSE Program has invested in planting 30 trees for every entry we received and together, we’ve planted 720 trees in Asia-Pacific communities most at-risk from climate change and environmental degradation. Adding 10% more green cover in cities and towns could potentially reduce the surface temperature of the area by 2.2 °C. As an essential part of the global economy, our efforts in improving the livelihood of our forests have cumulative effects as they provide tens of millions of jobs that are a vital part of the food chain, and are the source of over 28,000 species of plants used in medicines. The pressing needs of our planet require much more than money to reverse the effects of climate change and environmental hazards. As a network of universities we believe we have a great potential to shape the future healthy planet through high quality research innovation and educating the next generation of students which have the last chance to save the planet. We thank all the students for their contributions, please find the winning entries below. The VSE Central Office will contact the winners shortly for prize collection. The APRU Virtual Student Exchange (VSE) Program, led by The Chinese University of Hong Kong, makes international education accessible by allowing students to take academic courses and participate in co-curricular programs without the need to leave home. It opens up international education for all students by providing an immersive virtual student exchange experience through digital technologies and platforms and creating encounters with new ideas, cultures, experts, academics and students from around the world. For more information about the winning and featured Entries, please visit here.
June 17, 2022
APRU on UNESCO News: New report “Moving minds: Opportunities and challenges for virtual student mobility in a post-pandemic world”
The UNESCO International Institute for Higher Education in Latin America and the Caribbean has undertaken a study on virtual exchanges and looked at some case studies including the APRU Virtual Student Exchange Program.  Please see more information about the report “Moving minds: Opportunities and challenges for virtual student mobility in a post-pandemic world” below.    Original post on UNESCO The UNESCO International Institute for Higher Education in Latin America and the Caribbean (IESALC) launches on 28 February 2022 a major new report entitled “Moving minds: Opportunities and challenges for virtual student mobility in a post-pandemic world”, which addresses how the incredible creativity and innovation shown in higher education during the Covid-19 can be harnessed and further developed so that student mobility becomes possible, not only physically but through virtual modalities. The aim of this report is to ensure that students can continue to benefit from intercultural exchanges through the use of technology. These new forms of learning would make student mobility possible not only face-to-face but also virtually. The report is based on 14 case studies of virtual student mobility that have been implemented by 73 higher education institutions (HEIs) and through partnerships in 38 countries in all regions of the world. Based on the case studies, recommendations are offered to incorporate virtual student mobility as an additional form of student mobility, which can play a key role in reshaping the internationalization of higher education in the post-pandemic landscape. These practical recommendations are addressed to the different groups for whom virtual student mobility should be an important consideration: students themselves; those who develop and implement virtual student mobility (faculty members, staff of international relations offices); decision-makers (HEI leaders, HE alliances, governments); and funders (governments, NGOs). Access the full report here.
February 27, 2022
APRU on SCMP: Covid-19 wrecks exchange programme plans, as record low number of Hong Kong university students went overseas in last academic year
Written by William Yiu Original post on South China Morning Post Students walk past Widener Library at Harvard University in 2019. Photo: AP A record low of only 280 Hong Kong university students went on exchange programmes overseas or to mainland China in the last academic year, as Covid-19 travel restrictions wrecked plans for these much sought-after trips. That was 95 per cent fewer than the 5,391 students who spent time away in 2019-20 and the record high of nearly 6,700 in 2018-19. Although Hong Kong universities worked with institutions elsewhere to provide virtual exchange programmes, students said these paled in comparison with visiting a new destination and getting to know the people and culture there. A board at Hong Kong International Airport shows flights being cancelled in January. Photo: Dickson Lee Some universities have begun restarting their exchange trips, with more students likely to go this year even though strict travel restrictions remain. The latest figures for exchange students were announced in December by the University Grants Committee, which funds public institutions of higher education. Hong Kong universities have been expanding opportunities for undergraduates to spend a semester or a full academic year at another university, while continuing to pay the local tuition fee. Students apply to universities all over the world, especially in the United States, Britain, Japan and mainland China, which have exchange partnerships with local institutions. For many, the time away allows them to learn to be more independent, improve their language proficiency, make new friends and experience the culture of the place they are visiting. But the pandemic has continued to disrupt travel for everyone since 2020, particularly with Hong Kong’s strict requirement for arrivals from most places to undergo 21 days of quarantine. Most universities switched to virtual exchange programmes, which meant students remained in Hong Kong but attended online lectures and seminars at institutions elsewhere. Various other activities on culture, social skills, leadership and career development enabled them to make friends despite being separated by long distances. Chinese University (CUHK) said 1,400 of its undergraduates enrolled in its Virtual Student Exchange programme, organised since August 2020 and involving 61 institutions belonging to the Association of Pacific Rim Universities. Chinese University says 1,400 of its undergraduates have enrolled for its Virtual Student Exchange programme. Photo: Winson Wong In an opinion piece published in the Post last month, CUHK president Rocky Tuan Sung-chi said the virtual programme had the potential to make global education accessible to anyone with an internet connection, “rather than merely to those privileged few with financial means to jump on a plane and spend up to a year in a foreign land”. Competition is keen for exchange trips, as applicants must have a good academic track record and meet the language requirements at the universities they hope to go to. Not everyone can afford an exchange either. Students have to cover the cost of their air tickets, accommodation, meals, insurance and visa fees themselves. For those who choose universities in the US, the most expensive choice, this can add up to about HK$100,000 (US$12,840) per semester. Kristen Cheung, a fourth-year English major at CUHK, considered herself fortunate enough to attend a two-week exchange programme at Yale University in the US in 2020, before it was suspended because of Covid-19. She did not think a virtual programme could compare. “Students joining an exchange programme aim not only to study, but also to visit the host country and get to know people from different backgrounds. All these experiences cannot be provided in a virtual programme,” she said. Cheung said some students she knew who joined the virtual programme did so only to polish their resume and were not serious during the online classes. Residents in Nagoya, Japan. The country is among popular destinations for students wishing to go on exchange programmes overseas. Photo: Kyodo Alex Lau, a second-year sociology major at CUHK, took part in a two-month summer virtual exchange programme with a Japanese university and had mixed feelings about it. There were online lectures twice a week, from 11am to 3pm, with optional cultural activities in small group sessions. He said the programme helped him meet more people from Taiwan, mainland China, North America and Japan, but he missed out on experiencing the country and the social environment. “If you just want to get to know people from different places and join something for free, you could go for it,” he said. Now he is counting on travelling to Britain next year for an exchange programme at University College London, so that he can soak up the atmosphere and join in various activities. Some universities said their students were beginning to make plans for exchange trips this year. A spokesman for Education University said fully vaccinated students could go on these trips, but it would still offer virtual exchange programmes that included online immersion programmes, online courses, seminars and cultural exchange activities. For its students preparing to teach English and Chinese language, attending a course overseas or on the mainland was compulsory to help them improve their language proficiency and learn about the culture and education system there. The University of Science and Technology and Lingnan University said they had resumed sending students on exchange programmes since the second term this year. Both also offer virtual programmes as an alternative. City University also said it had resumed the physical programme in the 2020-21 academic year “under safe conditions”. Polytechnic University said its students were able to go on exchange trips to limited destinations such as the mainland, Australia or New Zealand during the earlier stages of the pandemic, or opt for the virtual programme.
February 20, 2022
Global MOOC and Online Education Conference 2021 highlights APRU Virtual Student Exchange (VSE) Program
On December 7, APRU co-hosted the Sub-Forum 4: “Virtual Mobility and Cocurricular Programming” of the Global MOOC and Online Education Conference 2021 hosted by Tsinghua University in collaboration with UNESCO IITE. The event featured keynote speeches and case studies from six APRU member universities who all made international education accessible under the APRU Virtual Student Exchange (VSE) Program, which allows students to take academic courses and participate in co-curricular programs without physically leaving home. The audience was comprised of instructors, researchers, experts, policy makers, and practitioners in the field of Massive Open Online Courses and online education from around the world. The Global MOOC Alliance is a diverse group of 17 world-leading universities and 3 online education platforms from across 14 countries in all 6 continents led by Tsinghua University. “The APRU VSE Program was launched with the unique preposition to create co-curriculum activities, and its strong focus on cultural leadership, careers and social aspects of study abroad experience in virtual delivery is precisely the focus we will need in the post-pandemic era,” said APRU Secretary General Christopher Tremewan, who chaired the session. Alan Chan, Provost, J.S. Lee Professor of Chinese Culture, The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK), in his keynote speech recalled how the pandemic has compelled CUHK to renew its commitment to internationalization. “When all of a sudden the campus became so quiet, then all of a sudden we realized that things we had taken for granted in the past are so central to what we do as a knowledge enterprise,” Chan said. “We realized that global learning and international student exchanges are not peripheral to what we do here at CUHK but are part of our DNA,” he added. Other keynote speeches were delivered by Dr. Xuemin Xu, Vice President (Education and International Affairs), Shanghai Jiao Tong University, and Professor Eduardo Vera Sobrino, Director of International Affairs, University of Chile. Xu explained that the new technologies that were developed for teaching and learning as a response to the pandemic will in a post-pandemic era allow students to become global citizens and contribute to UN Sustainable Development goals. Vera Sobrino described how IT-based research sped up in-house internationalization and broadened the global perspective of local problems. “In the APRU exchange program, most exchange students in our classes spoke English as second language, which helped our own students to feel much more confident in using English as the medium of instruction,” Vera Sobrino said. “Clearly, the advantages of diversity in the classroom really surpassed the barrier of using language other than the native language,” he added. Shally Fan, Director of Academic Links, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, illustrated how the APRU VSE Program gave the students a holistic exchange experience just like they would have had when traveling abroad. Fan cited the results of a survey CUHK conducted among the exchange students. “Students said that it inspired them and explained that their minds were able to access the partner universities abroad without physically being there,” Fan said. Seung Hyun Yang, Manager, International Mobility & Cooperation Team, Office of International Affairs, Korea University (KU), reported on the virtual KU experience that enabled exchange students to take a deep dive into K Pop from the historical development to recent issues, as well as into KU’s “Tiger Pride” cheerleading culture. Wang Xiaoxiao, Director of Online Education Center, Tsinghua University, reported on Tsinghua University’s global open course, which has attracted 2.3 million learners since its launch in October. Voraprapa Nakavachara, Assistant to the President for Global Engagement, Chulalongkorn University, pointed out that the pandemic experience proved that cross registration and credit transfer is possible, opening the doors to “a bigger thing” in the future. “The virtual student exchange program proved that you can be a global citizen and attend universities anywhere,” Nakavachara said. “We as faculty must be able to adopt to change and be open minded to new technology,” she added. Revisit the Sub-Forum 4 here
January 15, 2022
APRU on SCMP: Virtual foreign exchange allowing students to ‘study abroad’ without leaving home will outlast Covid-19
Written by Professor Rocky S. Tuan Original post on SCMP A lecturer at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University leads an online class on March 17, 2020. Photo: Xiaomei Chen Knowledge has no boundaries. This is especially true in a global society, with more and more students crossing borders to access overseas education. Going abroad to study or on exchange has become a rite of passage for millions of young people around the world. According to an OECD report published in 2020, the number of tertiary students pursuing education in a foreign country reached 5.6 million in 2018, more than doubling over the last 20 years. The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development also projected that the international student population is likely to reach 8 million by 2025. This phenomenal growth is attributed to the rise of the middle class in developing economies as well as a shortage of high-quality institutions in much of the developing world. The relative affordability and accessibility of international air travel, as well as the rapid development of communication technology, means students can be increasingly mobile while remaining connected to friends and family in their home countries. But the emergence of Covid-19 changed all this. As with so many areas of our lives, the pandemic has massively disrupted the traditional approach to international education; it threatened to erase decades of progress as the world retreated into quarantine almost two years ago. Travel restrictions, border closures, public health measures and pandemic politics have led to a significant decline in international student enrolment levels in most leading host countries. International students in Sydney, Australia, return to China following the outbreak of Covid-19, on August 20, 2020. Photo: Reuters Short-term exchange programmes, which are the backbone of the internationalisation agenda for so many universities, have seen a particularly sharp drop. Short-term overseas experiences are critical for fostering people-to-people links across nations, and provide students with the cultural smarts to forge global careers. Their absence is a potential tragedy for globalisation. Demand for full-degree programmes in top host countries has declined by as much as 20 per cent, but short-term programmes have fallen even further, with demand in many cases evaporating altogether. As universities and analysts think about recovery, it is forecast to take at least five years for international student mobility to return to pre-pandemic levels. What are universities doing about this, and where does a place like Hong Kong fit in? Far from passively waiting for borders to reopen, universities have been reimagining their approach to student mobility and harnessing the power of technology to deliver immersive international student experiences. This is much bigger than putting everything on Zoom or other virtual platforms. The novel approach has the potential to revolutionise access to international experiences and make global education accessible to anyone with an internet connection, rather than merely to those privileged few with financial means to jump on a plane and spend up to a year in a foreign land. According to a survey by the International Association of Universities in 2020, 60 per cent of universities have replaced physical student mobility with virtual mobility or collaborative online learning. Hong Kong is a global city, and its openness to international talent has underwritten much of its development and prosperity – the territory was simply not built to be isolated from the rest of the world. The pandemic could have been catastrophic to its educational exchanges, and indeed to the very fabric of Hong Kong’s people-to-people links with mainland China and overseas. Home to four top-100 global universities and the headquarters of the Association of Pacific Rim Universities (APRU), an alliance of 61 leading universities from four continents on both sides of the Pacific, Hong Kong has taken a leadership role in developing innovative solutions which allow crucial international student exchange to thrive despite the headwinds of a once-in-a-century global health crisis. One prime example is the Virtual Student Exchange (VSE) programme conceptualised and managed by the Chinese University of Hong Kong under the auspices of APRU. Launched in August 2020, the exchange programme enables students of APRU member universities to take online academic courses on a plethora of topics and participate in culturally enriched co-curricular programmes as well as establish social peer networks, without needing to leave their home countries. Tech-driven and highly immersive, the programme received a commendation at the Times Higher Education’s prestigious Asia awards in 2021. Today, thousands of students from around the world have completed an exchange via the Virtual Student Exchange, and such virtual international experiences look set to endure post pandemic. Students of Chinese University of Hong Kong celebrate their graduation on November 4 last year. Even as we recover from the pandemic, the virtual student exchange platform pioneered during the pandemic is likely to endure. Photo: K. Y. Cheng This has got to be a good thing for expanding access to high-quality university education and achieving one of the UN Sustainable Development Goals – to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all. Academic studies show that students who undertake international exchange outperform their peers in areas such as teamwork, empathy, work ethic and communication – areas essential for the future of work and economies everywhere. It is clear that, as much as we all yearn for the return of quarantine-free international travel, a simple return to physical overseas experiences would mean only those with adequate economic means can benefit from them. As the world thinks about navigating a new normal at the other side of this seemingly endless pandemic, it is fitting that Hong Kong – Asia’s World City – is blazing a new trail for the future of international education.
January 12, 2022
Times Higher Education Awards Asia 2021: winners announced
By THE reporters Original Post on Times Higher Education Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology gets leadership prize for ‘volume and range’ of Covid-19 contributions The management team of the Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology (KIIT) has taken the top accolade in a year of record submissions for Times Higher Education’s awards for Asian institutions. KIIT bagged the prize for Asia’s Leadership and Management Team of the Year category at 2021’s THE Awards Asia, whose winners were announced in a digital ceremony on 14 December. The event, which is now in its third year, builds on the success of THE’s long-running UK-focused awards, known as the “Oscars of higher education”. The judges praised the Indian institution, which they said stood out “for the volume and range of its contributions”, including developing free Covid-19 hospitals, “its widespread distribution of masks and sanitisers, and the provision of free higher education for children of parents lost in the pandemic”. In other categories too, universities showed their mettle in tackling Covid-19 challenges. The winner in the Technological or Digital Innovation of the Year category, India’s O.P. Jindal Global University, created a free, cloud-based application to help schools and universities manage data – especially useful given India’s digital divide. Saint Joseph University of Beirut, which is based in Lebanon, received the award for Workplace of the Year for its initiatives responding to two crises: the pandemic and the catastrophic explosion in Beirut’s port in August 2020. THE’s chief knowledge officer Phil Baty praised all the 2021 winners, who faced stiff competition with dozens of universities submitting entries. “We at THE and our distinguished group of guest experts found it a genuine privilege to immerse ourselves in these first-hand reports from all corners of the continent, detailing how universities responded speedily and ingeniously, deploying their resources to support students, staff and local communities,” he said.     Times Higher Education Awards Asia 2021 winners   Leadership and Management Team of the Year Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology (KIIT) Workplace of the Year Saint Joseph University of Beirut International Strategy of the Year Hangzhou Dianzi University Highly commended: Chinese University of Hong Kong Teaching and Learning Strategy of the Year National University of Singapore Highly commended: Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (UNIMAS), Centre for Applied Learning and Multimedia THE Datapoints Social Impact Award Institut Teknologi Sepuluh Nopember THE Datapoints Improved Performance Award Universiti Utara Malaysia Excellence and Innovation in the Arts Hong Kong Baptist University Technological or Digital Innovation of the Year O.P. Jindal Global University Outstanding Support for Students Universiti Teknologi Petronas Student Recruitment Campaign of the Year Hanoi University of Science and Technology Highly commended: Shoolini University of Biotechnology and Management Sciences
December 23, 2021
2021 CIEE International Education & Exchange Summit
The 2021 CIEE International Education & Exchange Summit was held online the week of November 1-5, 2021. After the successful cross-pollination of ideas that came out of 2020’s inaugural CIEE International Education & Exchange Summit, we again used this opportunity to bring together colleagues from around the world who worked not just in study abroad, but in cultural exchange programs of all kinds. We discussed topics among a diverse group of attendees, including students, universities and colleges, employers, providers, agents, governments, NGO’s, and more. (Panel Discussion) International Exchanges Unbound: Creating Cultural and Social Virtual Exchange Experiences APRU (Association of Pacific Rim Universities) came together in August 2020 to launch the APRU Virtual Student Exchange Program, led by the Chinese University of Hong Kong with a unique proposition: co-curricular activities which focus on cultural, leadership, career, and social aspects of study abroad experiences in virtual delivery. For the first year of the program, it included 26 universities, 229 academic courses, 1100+ students enrolled, and 41 co-curricular programs, bringing students from across the network in 14 economies of the Pacific Rim for free. In this panel, case study presentations from APRU universities will provide lessons on running engaging virtual programs. Revisit the recording here. Speakers Jacqueline Wong, Director (Network Programs), Association of Pacific Rim Universities Shally Fan, Director of Academic Links, The Chinese University of Hong Kong Kimberly Bellows, Program Coordinator, Intercultural Programs, UC Davis Global Affairs Alex Rendon, Director of International Programs, Universidad San Francisco e Quito Jeffrey Measelle, Professor, Department of Psychology, University of Oregon Download Presentation here
November 15, 2021
Workshop Shows Ways Forward for Virtual Student Exchange
APRU Co-curricular programs have proven a valuable and accessible resource for international exchange during Covid-19 distancing restrictions. By offering virtual student exchange experiences not typically found in a virtual learning environment, such as, Sake Tasting, Music Jam, Tour of the Galapagos Islands, Career workshops, K-pop music history, Global Leadership,  Cooking classes, (and much more) the APRU VSE demonstrates the value of the program by giving students an entryway to study abroad experiences and giving all students a chance to study abroad regardless of their economic resources. First-hand lessons which universities have drawn from hosting co-curricular courses in the APRU Virtual Student Exchange program was highlighted at a webinar hosted by the Chinese University of Hong Kong on April 16th entitled, International Exchanges Unbound: Developing Co-curricular Programs to Support Virtual Mobility. The webinar came against the backdrop of COVID-19 persistently restricting travel between campuses, with the presenters explaining how virtual student exchanges (VSE) can best be conducted. “The program allows students to keep benefitting from the very extensive academic courses in our network despite all the travel restrictions,” said Professor Suk-ying Wong, the Chinese University of Hong Kong’s Associate Vice-President, in her opening remarks. “Students are able to experience how virtual visits of other campuses can be done meaningfully and how they can take home the same kind of cultural experiences they would have when physically visiting,” she added. Lessons from Leading Universities The webinar involved presentations by The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Korea University, Tohoku University, Universidad San Francisco de Quito (USFQ), and University of California, Davis. The case studies illustrated that a mix of live and pre-recordings works well, that dividing participants into smaller groups encourages more active engagement, and it is worth the investment of different technologies (Slido, etc). The presenters found it particularly important for organizers to consider how content might be relevant in different cultural contexts. Presenters furthermore pointed out that it is important to find ways to engage students after an event, and that an event should always be built on to increase relevance, including by creating a sequence of events with other APRU members and hosting programs in partnership with other universities. The APRU Virtual Student Exchange program was launched in August 2020 with two offerings available, academic courses and co-curricular activities. With co-curricular offerings focus on cultural, leadership, career, and social aspects of study abroad experiences in virtual delivery the VSE program is able to provide a well-rounded virtual exchange experience. Reflecting the program’s significance, 42 co-curricular VSE programs have been offered by 13 universities by March this year, attracting more than 900 participants. The latest webinar, for its part, drew over one hundred concurrent views from over a dozen of economies. “We have clearly seen that the the APRU Virtual Student Exchange program allows the sharing of experts knowledge, so that we can keep up with the time, especially during the pandemic,” said Raewyn Tan, the University of Auckland’s International Adviser, at the webinar’s Report Back session. “This is obviously very helpful for students planning for their carriers, and we will strive to make participation rates remain high,” she added. Revisit the workshop recording: More Workshop Article: Tohoku University Be Global: APRU Virtual Student Exchange Workshop (from Tohoku University)
April 28, 2021