Zhejiang International Studies University

UWRF-ZISU “1+1+2” Program


Provided by: Sun Ying, School of Education Science
UWRF: University of Wisconsin-River Falls
ZISU: Zhejiang International Studies University

Foreword: As one of the “1+1+2” program experiencers, I am one of the beneficiaries as well. In order to let more people know more about this program, I am going to share my experience below in several perspectives. I hope this article can help you to have an idea of “what’s the authentic UWRF-ZISU program”.

Overview of “1+1+2” program: This program was offered, in 2013, for ZISU elementary education majors who wish to have an international study  experience. “1+1+2” means that the first, third and fourth years is spent in School of Elementary Education, ZISU while the second year is spent in UWRF. Specifically, the ZISU students study for 16 credits per semester in UWRF, and also visit the nearby elementary schools for an extensive internship experience.
The first batch of 22 majors in elementary education from ZISU were enrolled in the Fall semester 2013 in UWRF.



The first batch of 22 majors in elementary education

Studies: Basically, the courses we took in UWRF can be categorized into language, education, and elective courses. In this program, the number of language classes depends on the result of the campus test. Therefore, the class schedule will have some individual differences. In general, language classes include vocabulary, reading, and oral communication. With the help of language classes, we got exposed to authentic English smoothly and easily. It is worth mentioning that the progress we made in these classes facilitated our learning in education classes,, especially our reading and comprehension abilities. One of the highlights in this program is the education class, which is specially designed for majors in elementary education in ZISU. The educational curriculum consists of “American Education system”, “Special Education”, and “Teaching structure and method”. We enjoyed the active atmosphere of these classes, whereby getting an insight into American education and the differences between Chinese and American educational systems.


ZISU students in an Education class


What’s more, the elective courses refined our daily studies If we get enough scores in the campus test, we are allowed to choose some courses ourselves. Luckily, some of us got the opportunity to have classes with American students. For me, I chose Children’s Literature, Structure of English, Educational technology to supplement my learning. It is no doubt that these classes were so challenging that I should work hard to follow the class. Thereby, I reinforced my English by taking notes and having group work.


A ZISU student had a group work in an elective class


Another dominant and impressive part of our study life is our practicum.If the education classes are the foundation, the practicum is a great example to illustrate the saying of “Learning by doing”. Every Friday, we went to Elementary schools to utilize what we learned in education classes. Each of us was arranged in a different class and followed a cooperating teacher. Primarily, we made some observations of the classroom management, school schedule, and teacher’s class design in the cooperating class. Sometimes, however, we helped out in the classroom by answering students’ questions, reading books, and decorating classroom. We learned a lot from the elementary classes, and likewise, the children also learned Chinese culture from us in turn.


ZISU students in an Elementary class

Culture/Life: It seems that the trip to America was a beautiful dream, and the highlights of the dream filled our daily life with joy. Various kinds of activities and a great variety of people colored and delighted our life in UWRF. I still remembered the rodeo, American football game, Bingo, Zombie party, skiing, field trip, ice-skating, etc. From these activities, we gained a lot of fun and had a better understanding of American culture. I felt they just happened yesterday, and I were still in UWRF, hoping what would happen tomorrow.


A field trip to a national historical landmark- Fort Snelling

In order to alleviate our homesickness, we got our “second home” in American with host families. I really appreciate the kindness of our host families; they regarded us as their new family members and took care of us heart and soul. For example, they took us to some places and enjoyed the weekends. Or they invited us to have dinner with their family in some traditional festivals.


A ZISU student with her host family


More interestingly, UWRF helped us to find some language partners, so that we could learn language from each other. Language partners provided us with a chance to communicate more with native American students and build the everlasting friendship.


ZISU students with language partners in a Chinese restaurant

Epilogue: I hope after reading this article, you can have a general idea of the “1+1+2” program. I cannot deny that the fabulous year in UWRF was a process of sowing and harvesting; it has a civilizing influence on everyone. Personally, this year, I attained my goal and reached my anticipation. I became more motivated, not only as a college student, but as a would-be teacher as well. The memories are still vivid in my mind, and I believe they will be treasured as a gorgeous piece of music forever.