The Whitman in China exchange program began in 1982 initially with relationships between Whitman College and Yunnan University in Kunming and Northwestern Polytechnical University (NPU) in Xi'an.  At various junctures in the program's history in the 1980s and 1990s, partner institutions included Sichuan International Studies University in Chengdu and Guangya Elementary School in Sichuan Province.  Since 2000 when a new partnership with Shantou University, Guangdong Province, was established, the College has partnered exclusively with NPU, Shantou and Yunnan University.

Currently, the Whitman in China exchange program brings one student from Shantou to Whitman each fall semester as a visiting student.  The program was designed to give students in China an opportunity to take classes at an American college in order to learn about American culture and to polish their English skills. During a semester at Whitman College, in addition to being enrolled as a full-time student, the China Sherwood Scholar helps promote understanding of Chinese culture on campus by getting involved with extracurricular activities like the Pioneer student newspaper or debate team, and helping to organize activities such as a Mid-Autumn Festival at the Asian Studies House.

Meet our China Sherwood Scholars

Yidi Zhang (Edie), 2014-15 China Sherwood Scholar

What goals do you have for the upcoming semester at Whitman?

"Being an exchange student at Whitman is a great chance for me to experience the American campus life as well as the American culture. I look forward to making new friends from different backgrounds and we can share the unique experiences and stories with each other. Besides, I am passionate about the environment, and I hope to know how America manages to utilize nature and see whether it is possible to apply good practices to China. I hope to take classes to learn about  environmental studies and join the related field trips to equip myself with the systematical environment knowledge. In addition, I also expect to get exposed to other interesting study fields to explore myself and develop new interests. Same importantly, I am eager to help organize Chinese activities on the campus to add to American students’ understanding of Chinese culture."  Yidi Zhang (Edie)

Yue He (Joy), 2013-14 China Sherwood Scholar

What goals do you have for the upcoming semester at Whitman?

"The most exciting part of the exchange program is that it enables me to fulfill my life with brand new things and enjoy studying just for its own sake. Cultural clashes with its bright side and dark side always fascinates me. Each individual has unique stories, and I want to know them. As an enthusiastic debater, I am also curious about how debate activities are operating in America. Debating is a good way to encounter different thinking patterns and analytic approaches. Having witnessed many sophisticated and intelligent Asian debaters, I am interested about all of the fresh ideas American debaters can bring to me. What's more, as I am actively preparing for a graduate program after my undergraduate study, I am eager to get exposed to a variety of study fields and finally identify the one that suits me best. I hope that my stay at Whitman College could be full of excitement and inspiration. Same importantly, I am also looking forward to contributing to this community." Yue He (Joy)

The Whitman in China Exchange program also brings one junior faculty member or graduate student from Yunnan University or NPU to Whitman to serve as a Chinese language teaching assistant.  A China Sherwood Scholar assisting as a Language Assistant ensures that Whitman students benefit from the presence of the Chinese scholars on campus and, at the same time, provides a professional development opportunity for young faculty from our Chinese partner institutions. In addition to their academic responsibilities, the China Sherwood Scholar lives in the Asian Studies house on campus – promoting the speaking of Chinese and giving students a chance to partake in something approaching an immersion experience without leaving campus. Other responsibilities include facilitating a number of conversation groups (which are subsections of a specific language class) and organizing/supporting cultural events for the campus. These might take the form of cooking classes, dancing lessons, movie screenings, improvisational acting practice, radio programs, or anything else that is a particular interest of the China Sherwood Scholar. 

Alums from the China Sherwood Exchange program can be seen in the most recent Flickr photo sets taken at the Whitman in China 30th Anniversary banquet celebrations held at Whitman College in September 2012 and Kunming, China in July 2013.  Enjoy these photo sets....