In an effort to strengthen the University of Wisconsin’s study abroad program with China, Lt. Gov. Barbara Lawton signed a new exchange agreement between UW and Tsinghua University in Beijing last Wednesday.
According to Masarah Van Eyck, director of communications for international studies at UW, the agreement is the seventh that the university has with Chinese universities and the sixth in Beijing.
Van Eyck added that with China growing more influential in the global economy, it could be necessary for students of different fields of study to become more comfortable with Chinese culture so they can stay competitive.
Tsinghua University is one of the preeminent schools in Beijing, according to Van Eyck. With China growing as a world economic power as well, the exchange program wants its students to be able to communicate effectively with Chinese companies, so the university has decided to make China a top priority.
“Globally and economically, we want to make sure our graduates are prepared for that kind of marketplace,” Van Eyck said. “We think China will be the No. 1 location for UW students to go abroad in the next few years.”
Another part of the signing Wednesday was for UW to form an exploratory committee to establish a Global Manufacturing Institute that would cooperate with the University of Warwick in England, according to a statement.
According to Van Eyck, this agreement is not related to the exchange program but will be a “progressive and forward-thinking” business program.
“There is perhaps no more important bilateral relationship in the world than that between the U.S.A. and China,” Lawton said in an e-mail. “The student and faculty exchange with Tsinghua University and UW-Madison strengthens that relationship and affords students in both places the opportunity to better understand their role in this scenario.”
Lawton will release more information regarding the program Wednesday at a China mission briefing, according to a statement.