Phi Beta Delta Honor Society: A Quest for International Discovery

“Once you have traveled, the voyage never ends, but is played out over and over again in the quietest chambers. The mind can never break off from the journey.” — Pat Conroy.

The Phi Beta Delta Honor Society inducted thirty-two new members into the College of Staten Island’s Eta Lambda chapter in 2014. Inductees ranged from international and domestic students, such as 2014 valedictorian Blaze Fraser, to staff and faculty members.

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The Eta Lambda chapter at CSI currently has more than 200 members. The society acknowledges and honors each new and continuing members’ devotion to international study and travel, their commitment to achieve excellence, and their love for spreading that knowledge across the globe.

Newly inducted member Stephanie Randazzo expressed the impact of the honor society. “Phi Beta Delta Honor Society has broadened my international experience domestically. I have grown through my experience abroad and impacted others because of it.”

The key note speaker of the induction ceremony, Gianpiero Paliaro, expressed that world travel “is definitely one of the most challenging and rewarding life-changing experience a person can have.” Paliaro is the Corporate Office Manager of the Mediterranean Shipping Company. He has personal and international aspirations to make the world a more interconnected place.

The Society offers students multiple opportunities to develop their sense of the world through sponsored events throughout the academic year. The Eta Lambda chapter at CSI has a sponsored trip to tour the United Nations Headquarters in New York City and the New York Chinese Scholar’s Garden at the Snug Harbor Cultural Center in Staten Island. Phi Beta Delta Honor Society also encourages members to pursue international endeavors by holding a career fair with companies that operate on an international level, providing members with the chance to start careers that could bring them across the globe.


China’s Shaoxing University models new PT program on CSI

Dr. William J. Fritz signs the Memorandum of Understanding for the groundbreaking new Physical Therapy program with Yongming Shou from Shaoxing University.

Physical therapy and rehabilitation in China are currently provided by untrained individuals who are mostly physical educators, and the number of individuals requiring rehabilitation in China is staggering.

To help with this situation, delegates from Shaoxing University in the Zhejiang Provence of China met on the College of Staten Island campus with key members of CSI’s faculty and staff, headed by Professor and Chair of the Department of Physical Therapy, Dr. Jeffrey Rothman.

Their goal is to develop a high-quality physical therapy educational program for China that would meet North American standards of accreditation.

With only one physical therapy education program in China located at the Polytech University in Hong Kong, the Shaoxing University delegates are aiming to form relationships with North American colleges and universities that can assist them in collaborating with faculty from Shaoxing on matters related to curriculum, course content, and research with a possible exchange program for students and faculty envisioned for the future.

The delegation was welcomed to CSI by Dr. Rothman and Dr. Stephen Ferst, Executive Director, Center for International Service, as they went on a tour of the CSI Department of Physical Therapy to meet with its faculty members. They soon met with CSI President Dr. William J. Fritz,  Interim Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Fred Naider, Dean of Science and Technology Dr. Alex Chigogidze, and Professor Maureen Becker, Director of Clinical Education, Department of Physical Therapy and Interim Founding Dean of the School of Health Sciences, and signed the letter of intent to memorialize the collaboration and promote relations and mutual understating between the institutions.

“I am excited that our Doctor of Physical Therapy students will be offered the potential of overseas study and experience,” Dr. Fritz told the delegates. “We are proud of the opportunity to play a role to assist China in providing competent physical therapy and rehabilitation services.”

Dr. Fritz also noted that the collaboration will “increase the civic prosperity of Staten Island,” and informed the delegates of the College’s Interdisciplinary High Performance Computing Center and “the opportunities it provides our students.” He also discussed the recent creation of three new schools on campus, the School of Business, the School of Education, and the School of Health Sciences.

Dr. Rothman, working with Dr. Robert Chen, an internationally renowned sports physical therapist, met with the visiting Shaoxing University faculty and administrators in order to begin a valuable relationship that will see CSI’s Department of Physical Therapy program faculty, staff, and students assist in establishing Shaoxing University’s Physical Therapy program to meet the tremendous needs for rehabilitation services for its large population. Dr. Rothman, during his visit with Dr Chen last year, toured several rehabilitation centers in China. It was evident during his visit, and following discussions with medical staff, that there is a high number of children in China with physical disabilities and adults with a multitude of physical and motoric problems that would benefit greatly from physical therapy services.

This collaboration with Shaoxing University will also allow for faculty and student exchange between the respective universities. In addition, CSI DPT students will be offered the potential for overseas study experience in their professional field, including, but not limited to, strengthening clinical practical training in Shaoxing University’s affiliated hospitals and expertise in Chinese traditional medicine and knowledge.

Shaoxing University considered several other U.S. physical therapy programs including a prestigious Manhattan-based private university, but decided to work with CSI after reviewing the curriculum and program resources, and meeting with CSI’s international office and administrative support.

The meeting with the delegation from Shaoxing was such a success that the University has also expressed interest in collaborating with other academic fields of study at CSI, including Mathematics, Chemistry, Computer Science, Nursing, Education, Engineering, and Business.

By establishing a collaborative relationship with Shaoxing University, CSI has the opportunity to play a monumental role in assisting China in providing competent physical therapy and rehabilitation services that are urgently needed by the Chinese population, while greatly enhancing the international reputation and presence of CSI and CUNY.

International Visitor Leadership Program Wraps Up At CSI

Photo courtesy of Lucy Farfan-Narcisse.

THE BANNER – A delegation of 19 international higher education leaders congregate in the Green Dolphin Lounge in 1C on May 1, 2014. Hosted by the Center for International Service, the International Visitor Leadership Program wrapped up its three week tour of United States’ colleges and universities.

The program was organized by the Office of International Visitors which is part of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, a bureau of the United States Department of State. The program was arranged by Ms. Ann Driscoll and Colin Ackerman of World Learning, an international nonprofit which promotes international exchanges of education and developmental knowledge.

Then Interim President, now full time President of the College of Staten Island, William Fritz, was there to mark the rare and influential occasion by welcoming the congregation of international visitors. President Fritz referenced a recent Business Insider article which cited CSI as New York States’ “most underrated college,” as evidence of CSI’s desirability for potential international students stating.

“CSI has national as well as international ranking,” said President Fritz.

The topic of conversation between the international visitors was “Contemporary Challenges in Higher Education.” With visitors ranging from Armenia, Bolivia and Chile, to the Slovak Republic, Somalia and South Africa, there was no lack of interesting conversation between various cultures and customs which all share a common ideal of the importance of higher education.

Dr. Stephen Ferst, Executive Director of the Center of International Service, pointed out how “unique” CSI is due to the existence of an international service office which sets it apart from other CUNYs. CSI’s blend of community college and four-year degrees is another thing Ferst cited which makes “a particular college like CSI attractive [to educators from abroad].”

After opening remarks by Dr. Ferst, President Fritz and Dr. Michael Kress, Vice President of Information Technology and Economic Development for CSI, the various visitors broke off into multiple groups to network, as well as to discuss challenges facing higher education and CSI’s role on the international stage.

Three of these visitors – Ms. Samira Alvarado Arzate, International Affairs Coordinator and Secretariat of Education for Sonora State University in Mexico, Ms. Maram Albalbisi, Quality Assurance Manager for Effat University in Saudi Arabia, and a representative from Djibouti who has asked to remain unnamed – shared some of their opinions of CSI.

All three mentioned “the wide campus space” and the “large amount of degrees available” as some of the key qualities that make CSI outstandingly attractive to other visitors and potential students.

“CSI is a research campus, which has great importance to many students, especially for those studying the sciences,” said Ms. Albalbisi.

Also present at the event was Mr. Bosco Johnson Rukundo, a lecturer and coordinator for the Masters of Science Economics program at the National University of Rwanda. With Rwanda suffering from social upheaval and economic trouble, and its reliance on the agricultural industry, Mr. Rukundo, more than most people, knows the dire importance of higher education.

“In my country, most people lack higher education and therefore have fewer skills,” said Mr. Rukundo. “We need those critical skills in the sciences to create not only jobs but sustainable jobs that aid in the long term.” Mr. Rukundo indicated that affordable and accessible colleges like CSI make great strides in helping international workers get the skills their country needs. This exportation of knowledge is one of the key themes of the program.

Since the Center of International Service has been on the CSI campus, multiple international students have come to CSI looking for a chance at an affordable and comprehensive college degree and experience.

One of the attendees of this leadership program, Naomi O., is a young woman from Japan who currently attends the College of Staten Island and works for the Center of International Service.

Ms. Naomi O. works as an intern for the Center of International Service, is currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in Business Management, and speaks more than three languages. Naomi moved from Japan to Hong Kong and eventually made her way to the United States, specifically Staten Island, NY.

“Communication between people [on the issue of higher education] is essential,” said Naomi. In order to reach the most amount of people domestically and abroad, higher education leaders, according to Naomi, need to “broaden communication of the issue of higher education across universities and countries.” She added that initiatives like the International Visitor Leadership Program were fundamental to the dissemination of knowledge and higher education throughout the world.

The group eventually departed from the Green Dolphin Lounge and toured the ongoing Undergraduate Research Conference occurring in 1P as well as the library.

“Contemporary Challenges in Higher Education” is not just the title of this international summit but it is also the theme of most of the struggles facing both the United States and the international stage. With modern technology on the advent and a growing global socioeconomic disparity, it is and will be the continuing focus of attention for world leaders to promote higher education and the dissemination of knowledge to as many people as possible.

CSI now finds itself at the spearhead of new initiatives like these, more so than many other American universities. Promoting internalization of education, CSI now stands as a potential gateway for immigrants, or any other person, to reach the goal of higher education relatively easier than most other colleges and universities in the world.

This article was written by Michael Roach for the May 22, 2014 issue of  The Banner and is reprinted here with permission.  Read more from The Banner>

Alan Zimmerman featured expert for PlasticsNews

PolyOne Corp., the $2.9 billion polymer compounding and materials distribution giant, offers anti-counterfeiting service according to a recent post by PlasticsNews.

Dr. Alan Zimmerman, who closely tracks the impact of counterfeit goods on the economy and on companies, was a featured expert in the report.

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Study Abroad in Italy

Alexis Rizzica stands behind her friend Natalie at the top of the duomo, located just around the block from her apartment. Alexis says “This, so far, has undoubtedly been the best experience of my life... I never want to come home!”

This fall semester, three CSI students are benefiting from full scholarships to study in Florence, Italy. Two of them, with previous Italian language coursework at CSI, were awarded additional grants from CSI’s Italian Studies Program, which is a part of the World Languages and Literatures Department.

Hundreds of students have benefited from the opportunity to study in Italy as a result of CSI’s nearly three-decade-long partnership with the Scuola Lorenzo de’ Medici, (LdM) in Florence. The partnership between CSI and LdM has enabled numerous CSI students to take advantage of studying abroad in Italy, and since the inception of a full LdM scholarship, CSI has enrolled one or more students per semester (fall or spring) in the program with tuition covered by the grant.

"There are so many things that I wouldn't have been able to accomplish if I didn't study abroad. I never thought I would have had the opportunity to climb a volcano and I did it! This experience is life changing." -Debra DeTeresa

At LdM, participating CSI students have the opportunity to study in their chosen fields while learning about Italy in a wide range of courses taught in English. While many students have studied Italian before the program, it is not a prerequisite, although it is a requirement to take an Italian language course while on the semester program. Students earn college credit while studying courses and participating in experiences they would not otherwise be able to partake in back home. Whether walking the streets of Florence with a noted art historian, making jewelry with an expert artisan, or visiting the countryside of the Tuscany region, students have the chance for a once-in-a-lifetime experience in Italy.

Two or more students per semester from any major may be chosen to receive the LdM Full Program Scholarship to study in Florence, with additional funding support possible from the Italian Studies Program. The fund from the Italian Studies Program may be available for qualified students, who are Italian majors or minors or with some previous CSI coursework in Italian language studies.

Along with the Italian Studies Fund, there are other ways that students can receive awards that will help alleviate the cost of the trip, such as the Frank and Margaret Ricciardi Scholarship Fund, created by Margaret Ricciardi for the sole purpose of helping students realize their dream of studying in Italy.

Michelle Lagana, a recent recipient of the Ricciardi Scholarship Fund, looks forward to meeting Mrs. Ricciardi to “thank her personally,” for the opportunity to study in Italy during the one-month July session this summer.

“Without this scholarship I would have not have been able to participate in the study abroad program,” Michelle said of the scholarship. Michelle, who is a Communications major wanted to study in Italy so that she could improve her “grasp of the Italian language as well as the culture.” She traveled throughout Italy and even ventured into Barcelona, Spain during her stay this summer in Florence.

While studying at LdM, students have the opportunity to not only focus on their fields of study, as classes are taught in English, but participate in internships that are available during the semester. Internships for credit are offered by LdM in the following fields: international business, marketing, museum experience, communications, graphic design, and fashion marketing and merchandising.

Speaking about the importance of studying and working in Florence, Gerry Milligan, the new Chair of the World Languages and Literatures Department at CSI, called these internships opportunities to make an “authentic connection with the culture.”

A huge proponent of studying abroad, Milligan, who himself  has studied abroad five times and has worked extensively with LdM, understands the importance of immersing oneself in another culture. 

“Florence was the cradle of the Renaissance,” said Milligan of the value for students to study in the city Leonardo da Vinci once called home. “Studying its art, architecture, and politics allows CSI students to compare their own city, arguably the capital of modern society, with the capital of a distant and foreign world. What students ultimately learn, however, is not only how Western culture was transformed in this great city on the Arno but how they themselves are part of world that is larger and richer than they could ever imagine.”

Holdaliz Brito is a SEEK student who received funding from the Office of Special Programs due to her academic achievements. A recent participant in the month-long summer session at LdM’s Florence campus this past June, she discussed the day she found out that she would be awarded the money for her trip. She said, “At that moment, I realized hard work really does pay off. It’s a scholarship that I will forever be grateful for because I got to experience and see things that I never thought I would.”

“Living in Florence was an experience of a lifetime,” she said, discussing her stay in Italy. “I visited the Amalfi Coast—that weekend, I saw another side of nature. The scenery looked as if it were painted on a canvas.”

Four CSI students will be studying in Florence at LdM for the fall semester but the CSI Center for International Service is currently accepting applications for the spring semester. Students are encouraged to apply for the Full LdM Program Scholarship and funding via the Italian Studies Program, as it is a great way to not only study in the birthplace of the Renaissance and one of the oldest cities in Europe, but also take part in, as Holdaliz put it, “the experience of a lifetime.”

[video] Newly Formed Partnership with Vietnamese University Celebrated

CSI's Center for International Service English Language Institute recently celebrated Summer Culture Day 2013.

The College of Staten Island’s Center for International Service English Language Institute (ELI) Summer Culture Day 2013 was made all the more special because this class was the first to host English as a Second Language (ESL) teachers from Thai Nguyen University of Technology (TNUT) in Thai Nguyen,Vietnam.

Three times per year, the CSI ELI celebrates Culture Day, a day where ELI students get to show off their sharply honed English language skills as well as share their love for their native cultures through presentations, food, and in the case of this summer’s ELI Culture Day, song.

The two Vietnamese teachers were the first participants from a partnership between CSI and TNUT, made possible by a CSI delegation visit to TNUT in January 2013 consisting of Dr. Deborah Vess, Associate Provost for Undergraduate Studies and Academic Programs; Barbara A. Clark, then Interim Executive Director of the Center for International Service; and Dr. Jessica Jiang, Associate Professor in Engineering Science and Physics.

In April 2013, the TNUT delegation visited CSI to sign the formal agreement between the two institutions that includes the potential for collaborations at all levels, with faculty, staff, and students.

The Vietnamese teachers, Hong Anh Thi and Thi Tham Hoang, enrolled in our English Language Institute (ELI) as part of a Professional Development Training Program designed by the Center for International Service. The customized program is designed to enhance English language skills, and convey methods of teaching ESL, the cultural aspects of the U.S. classroom, and life in the United States.

Hong Anh Thi, who, along with her fellow ESL teacher, is staying with a host family on Staten Island, said she enrolled in the program in order to increase her study methods and improve her English language skills, which will translate to her ability to teach English to Vietnamese students. “The teachers at ELI are very creative and use humor as a great method to make their students very comfortable,” she said of the tactics that the ELI staff use that most impressed her.

The Vietnamese teachers were not the only ones presenting during Culture Day. As is usually the case with ELI’s Culture Day, the student presentations were as diverse and interesting as the students themselves.

Paulina Borowska, from Poland, introduced the group to the six Polish Noble Prize winners, including Marie Curie, who was also the first woman to win the prestigious award. From Russia, Svetlana Filatova, highlighted her home country’s major tourist attractions as did Saad Khtour, who presented his home city of Daklha, Morroco, as a go-to destination for surfing and fishing.

[youtube][/youtube]It was, however, Jefrey Reanda, of Guatemala who stole the show. He studied at the CSI ELI to take part in all that being close to NYC has to offer and to learn a New York accent because he felt it “has value in the world. It gives others a sense of your position wherever you are.” Jefrey focused his presentation on the music of Guatemala, highlighting its place in Guatemalan culture and history. The big treat came when he sang “Luna de Telajú,” a famous Guatemalan song written by Paco Perez.

As always, the CSI ELI Culture Day introduced several new cultures and perspectives to CSI and the new partnership formed between CSI and TNUT will only strengthen with each coming cohort.

The English Language Institute’s Culture Day is imbuded with cultural enrichment, as students from around the globe share their native customs, traditions, and more. Culture Day is an excellent forum for cross-cultural exchange between ELI students and CSI students and allows ELI students to showcase their English-speaking skills to each other and the ELI faculty and staff.

International Career Fair Presents a World of Possibilities

Carey Clinton from the Peace Corps speaks to students at the College’s International Career Fair and Panel Discussion.

The Center for the Arts Atrium was filled with sharply dressed students holding crisp résumés as they lined up in front of the various tables provided by the several organizations in attendance for the College of Staten Island’s International Career Fair and Panel Discussion.

The purpose of the fair, open to all CSI students, was to promote job and internship opportunities for students who study or speak a foreign language and are interested in working for international businesses or organizations.

Valeria Belmonti, Director of the Modern Languages Media Center and one of the organizers of the event, was happy with the turn out. “The companies represented diverse areas of business,” she said, as she fielded questions from students and recruiters alike. “Students are having difficulties finding  jobs and internships in this complicated job market, and appreciate the opportunity to have jobs and internship opportunities brought directly to them on campus.”

“This is a great experience,” said Jane Kim, a Senior Business Management student and President of the International Business Society at CSI. She had just met with a few recruiters from College Bound, a not-for-profit organization that assists promising students with the tools they need to apply for, and succeed in, college. “For seniors,” Jane explained, “this is a great way for us to get to connect with potential employers.”

The list of companies with recruiters at the recent Fair included Sovereign Santander, Deutsche Bank, Verizon, Bilingual Resources, the Peace Corps, and even the United Nations.

Michael Roach, a freshman Accounting major, had another take on the fair. “Events like this give the younger students ideas for the future,” he said as he had just finished making his rounds of visiting nearly all the tables and was impressed by the variety. “A student who was unsure of what career they may strive for can really do a great amount of research here.”

Several of CSI’s clubs and organizations, such as the International Business Society, Center for International Service, Career and Scholarship Center, and the Italian Club, among others, were also in attendance offering information about services that are available to students while they are studying at CSI. Many of these tables were staffed by students who took turns visiting other tables, optimizing their experience.

The second part of the event began when the students filed into the Recital Hall to listen to three highly respected members of the international community. The panel consisted of Naima Charafi, a language instructor from the United Nations; Alberto Prieto, the President of Bilingual Resources, an employment agency that focuses on placing people within multinational businesses; and Carey Clinton, a regional recruiter for the Peace Corps.

Each panelist spoke about not only their respective organization’s purpose, but also about how  foreign language skills play an important role as “many American companies are expanding their horizons to overseas locations. Belmonti also commented on the importance of language skills for today’s students. “I believe that the study of foreign languages and cultures is a critical asset for people today overall, as it helps build one’s better understanding of the world and develop a positive attitude toward people from diverse cultural backgrounds.”

Charafi, a language instructor for the UN, clued the attendees into why her organization is the perfect place to work for someone with a multilingual background. “If you are a language lover, this is a career for you,” she told the audience.  She also discussed the steps that a potential employee may take to join the UN.

Carey Clinton, from the Peace Corps, focused more on a possible employee’s willingness to “take part in grassroots development” and become a part of “the community you live with.” He stressed that while one does not necessarily need to be multilingual in order to join the Peace Corps, it helps to be open to learning new languages and about new cultures.

Alberto Prieto, of Bilingual Resources, aimed his discussion at those who had been unsuccessfully making their way through the job market. “You need to learn how to navigate the maze and connect with recruiters,” he told the audience. Prieto, who has been placing college graduates in many industries since 1996, advised potential candidates to focus on their language skills to help them land jobs.

While each panelist addressed different factors in securing and retaining a job in an international organization,  they all stressed the same overall theme, which was brilliantly expressed by Chaifi when she told the audience “you make your job,” when she was asked about the difficulties in getting started in a career in this difficult market.

The major takeaway from the whole event was the importance stressed on connecting CSI students with potential employers and allowing them to get a feel for what it takes to secure a career with one of the many international organizations in attendance. The road is long and covered with obstacles, but with a little help from the College and some dedication, the transition from student to employee can go much more smoothly than anticipated.

Phi Beta Delta Honor Society for International Scholars – Eta Lambda Chapter, sponsored the International Career Fair.

Additional Sponsors include:  Modern Languages Media Center, Career and Scholarship Center, Center for International Service, International Studies Program, Italian Club viva L’Italiano, Spanish Club, International Students Club, International Business Society and Student Government.

Exchange Ambassadors Study in Hong Kong as Gilman Scholars

CSI students Juan Cardona and Giovanni Rosa pose in front of the City University of Hong Kong.

The College of Staten Island’s Center for International Service has sent four undergraduate students to the City University of Hong Kong through its Exchange Ambassador Program for the 2013 spring semester.

These “CSI Exchange Ambassadors” will be taking courses with students from all over the world as they spend the semester exploring the culturally rich city. The basis of the Exchange Ambassador Program is twofold:  to provide CSI students with a core of knowledge and skills in the humanities and social sciences while enabling them to experience life in Hong Kong at the same tuition cost as a semester at CSI, and to provide its students with a “global perspective” that helps them to achieve career goals in an increasingly interdependent world.

Two of the students studying in Hong Kong, Juan Cardona and Giovanni Rosa, were awarded the prestigious Benjamin A. Gilman Scholarship to do so. Undergraduate PELL Grant recipients only may apply for Gilman awards to participate in study abroad programs worldwide. This highly competitive need-based scholarship opportunity awards grants of up to $5,000 toward study abroad for a semester, a year,  or for a four-week summer program.  The application deadline for summer and fall 2013 is March 5, 2013.  More information is available on the Gilman International Scholarship website.

Juan and Giovanni believe that their choice of studying in Hong Kong helped their chances of winning the Gilman award. “Most of the people who apply are traveling to Europe; Hong Kong is truly a unique [destination].”

Although it is unique, Russell Davis, China Programs Coordinator and Study Abroad Advisor, feels that these two students will fit right in. “Hong Kong is such a diverse [place]; these two New Yorkers will be able to have a great learning experience exploring…and using it as a base to explore beyond.”

Juan, who recruited Giovanni to come to study in Hong Kong with him, is aware of the pressures of being a CSI Exchange Ambassador, “We will be representing not only CSI, but New York, even the country,” he said of his role as an Exchange Ambassador.

“Juan and Giovanni will be serving as CSI ambassadors to all of Hong Kong,” reiterated Davis. While this sounds like a challenging responsibility for undergraduate students studying overseas for the first time, the reality is that the CSI Exchange Ambassador program is designed to give its students plenty of freedom while still making the transition from domestic student to international student as painless as possible. Students studying at the City University of Hong Kong are registered at CSI, pay CUNY tuition, and earn credit at CSI toward their college degree.

“CSI really made this as easy as possible,” said Cardona, who is studying second language acquisition, here at CSI.

While the majority of their time will be spent studying, like most undergraduates, Juan and Giovanni will have plenty of downtime to explore Hong Kong and its environs.

Juan, who will be studying Cantonese, as well as psychology and history, has placed the Great Wall and the Terra Cotta warriors in the city of Xianin in northwest China on his itinerary. He is also planning a trip to Thailand and the Philippines to do a little scuba diving.

Giovanni, who will be studying Mandarin and business communications, is an avid martial arts practitioner and is excited to have an opportunity to study kung fu in Hong Kong. “It has been one of my dreams to visit an actual monastery and just meditate,” said the practicing Daoist.

When explaining  just who are the best candidates to serve as exchange ambassadors, Davis explained “we look for more mature, self-directed students” because exchange students, as opposed to students on study abroad programs, take regular university classes with local students abroad.  “Exchange students exercise more freedom in making their schedule, both  in and out of class, and the entire exchange experience fosters a sense of self-reliance,” Davis said.

Or, as Juan put it, “it will be up to us.”

The Exchange Ambassador Program is a bilateral student exchange between CSI and City University of Hong Kong.  While CSI is sending students to Hong Kong this spring, CityU confirmed that they would send several students to CSI next year as visiting exchange students. “While our students are CSI ambassadors in Hong Kong, our entire campus acts as an ambassador when we receive visiting exchange students,” said Barbara Clark, Center for International Service Interim Executive Director.

Although the program has its practical benefits such as raising global awareness at CSI and preparing CSI students for an increasingly international workplace, it is perhaps the more intangible reasons for sending students to study overseas that have made it the popular program it has become. As Clark put it, “we want to increase diversity and make our students citizens of the world.”

Juan Cardona, a graduate of Staten Island Technical High School, majors in Psychology as a member of the CSTEP program.

Giovanni Rosa, also a Psychology major, graduated from Curtis High School.