St. John’s Office of International Education Hosts Short-Term Programs

Chilean Students on the Great Lawn on Queens Campus

Chilean students on the Queens campus

October 19, 2023

This past summer, St. John’s Office of International Education (OIE) had the delight of hosting three in-person, short-term programs on our Queens, NY, campus and one virtual workshop. Visiting groups came from China, Chile, and Japan; in total, the EducationUSA Academy Connects program brought together students from 11 countries.     

The first student group arrived in Queens from Weifang Medical University (WFMU), China, with eight students. They came for a month-long intensive Introduction to Pharmacologycourse. The OIE, in collaboration with the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences and Zhe-Sheng (Jason) Chen, M.D., Ph.D., has run this summer program for WFMU since 2016. It was a pleasure to have the WFMU students back on campus after a break due to the pandemic. 

Weifang Medical University students in front of the Empire State Building
Weifang Medical University students

The second group arrived from Chile with 48 high school students and seven teachers via the University’s partnership with Asesorías DVR (ADVR). This is the second summer this group has come to St. John’s. ADVR works with various comunas (townships) around Chile, providing local governments with opportunities for their students to travel abroad. 

The comunas covered 100 percent of participants’ costs to attend this program in New York. For some of these students, it was their first time leaving Chile. Students were part of a weeklong program that included English as a second language instruction and a leadership seminar. The teachers participated in a workshop that focused on student engagement and different types of teaching methodologies to be used with disadvantaged students. 

Students from Kokushikan University (KU), Japan, were the third group to visit St. John’s. St. John’s and KU have a long-standing relationship, with the first agreement between the universities dating back to the 1970s. This group came to St. John’s for three weeks of English as a second language and cultural experiences in New York City. Many students stated how this was their first study abroad experience and were very excited and thankful for the wonderful memories they created here.

To complement their academic experiences, these groups visited several landmarks in New York City, including Rockefeller Center, Times Square, Wall Street, and others. They also partook in cultural activities such as baseball games at Citi Field, and visits to Chinatown and Little Italy, among others. ADVR was also able to visit Washington, DC, for a day. 

EducationUSA Academy Connects, also in its third year, is a collaboration between the US Department of State’s EducationUSA branch, St. John’s Office of International Admission, and OIE. Academy Connects is a series of virtual workshops covering topics including understanding higher education in the US, the application process for US universities, how to write an effective college essay, virtual tours of partner universities in the US, and more. This all took place in the span of six weeks with 33 high school students from 11 countries, including Bolivia, Egypt, Timor-Leste, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan,.  

The OIE is in the planning stages for Summer 2024. Several groups are already scheduled to return, and new programs with partners from other parts of the world are in development.