The 2019 Study Abroad Symposium IES Abroad-SAF at Dalian Maritime University took place on September 20, 2019. Sponsored by the China Association for International Exchange in Education and co-organized by IES Abroad-SAF and Dalian Maritime University, the symposium explored the diversification strategy to enhance the international competitiveness of universities.
At the opening ceremony, Professor Zhao Youtao, Vice President of Dalian Maritime University thanked the organizers and extended a warm welcome to the nearly 150 representatives from local and international universities.
Ms. Shen Xuesong, Deputy Secretary General of the China Education Association for International Exchange, delivered the opening speech, "Internationalization is an important factor in measuring the level of a university and its international competitiveness," she said.
“Overseas study visits have become a common experience in the internationalization strategy of undergraduate education, providing students with precious opportunities to broaden their international vision, experience different cultures, explore the world, improve their academic ability, enrich their life experience and think independently."
After thanking everyone for coming, Amber Mercier, Vice President of Strategy, New Business Development, and Analysis at IES Abroad and SAF, explained that, "SAF is a mission-driven organization dedicated to providing students from all over the world with the opportunity to study abroad.” Founded nearly 20 years ago, SAF has, since 2017, been affiliated with IES Abroad, one of the world's largest overseas-study institutions.
In exploring ‘diversification strategy to enhance the international competitiveness of colleges and universities,’ at the SAF event, Chinese and foreign education leaders shared experiences and discussed:
- current international cooperation in higher education
- how to share university action strategies to comprehensively enhance international competitiveness
- setting global university rankings standards and international exchange indicators
To build on this experience sharing, Dr. Michael Zhao, SAF China Vice President for Academic Partner Development, announced the 2020 SAF Overseas Education and Professional Development Tour.
From February 2 to 8, 2020, the tour of Milan, Italy, and Barcelona, Spain, will visit SAF headquarters and explore IES Abroad's global operation. Participants will go to world-renowned European universities, including Università Bocconi, Milano Fashion Institute, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Universitat de Barcelona, and Institut Jaume Balmes.
The tour will enter classrooms for first-hand contact with overseas students and local teachers, scholars, and business leaders. Participants will learn about European universities’ education models and join international industry-competitiveness workshops.
Beyond the classroom, activities will have a deeply cultural feel: Italian opera, Gaudí’s Sagrada Família and Da Vinci’s The Last Supper, and Spanish cooking classes.
To close the 2019 SAF overseas visiting symposium, Amber Mercier and Dr. CHANG Xiaoling, Deputy Editor-In-Chief of the Foreign Language Teaching and Research Press, signed an agreement to formalize their cooperation in promoting overseas education.
As pioneers in the education industry, SAF and IES Abroad focus on developing the next generation of leaders in the belief that an international vision is essential for nurturing talent in further education.
SAF hopes the international exchange seminar will promote and deepen cooperation in the global educational elite and build excellent resources to enhance international competitiveness and influence. The 2020 SAF tour, it hopes, will expose national education leaders to overseas resources to inspire a more international environment in their own universities and build prosperity across the education industry.
For the 20th anniversary of SAF's establishment, the next Study Abroad Symposium IES Abroad-SAF will be in Xiamen University, one of the "most beautiful campuses in China."