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Rutgers international students earn degree credits through hybrid instruction at partner universities in China

Like many, first-year international student Yubo Su’s plans to move to the United States to study at Rutgers were put on hold by the COVID-19 pandemic – but instead of taking a gap year, Su is taking part in a new program that enables Rutgers students living in China to make timely progress toward their degrees.

The Rutgers Overseas Semester Experience (ROSE), spearheaded by Rutgers Global in the wake of COVID-19 travel restrictions, provides the opportunity for about 400 Rutgers first-year undergraduate students from China to study at partner universities in China, receiving both in-person and remote instruction.

“We strongly believe that a hybrid educational experience is better for new students’ intellectual growth relative to a gap year,” said Rick Garfunkel, vice president for global affairs at Rutgers. “In a sense, ROSE functions as a large study abroad ‘at home’ program at partner campuses in China.”

“From my point of view, the ROSE program is a fantastic solution for the challenge presented by COVID-19,” Su, who is participating in the ROSE program at South China University of Technology in Guangzhou, said.

Students in the ROSE program are registered and enrolled as regular Rutgers University students.

At each ROSE site, students enroll in an average of two on-campus in-person classes taught by both Chinese and U.S. faculty in China as well as other remote instruction classes taught online by Rutgers professors in New Jersey.

Steven Henin, director of the ROSE program, said that staff worked around the clock to launch the program in just five months.

“Now, with the ROSE program fully launched, we are dedicated to continuing to work together with schools and departments within Rutgers, as well as faculty, staff and students to provide the best possible educational environment for our ROSE students until they are able to return to New Jersey in person,” Henin said.

Peiqing Zhu, a School of Arts and Sciences student participating in the ROSE program in Shanghai at Eastern China Normal University, agrees. The program, which allows students to interact with classmates in China, as well as virtually with classmates in New Jersey and elsewhere, helps to create a unified and integrated experience.

“After two weeks of study, I already feel that Rutgers has attached great importance to their students,” Zhu said. “We have various activities, and, in addition to studying, I experience a real college life here.”

In-person and online classes for the ROSE program started the same day as Rutgers in New Jersey, on September 1. An orientation held in late August for participating students at each ROSE site in China provided the opportunity for students, alumni, parents and faculty to meet face-to-face while interacting virtually with Rutgers staff to learn about resources available to them to plan for their academic journeys and beyond.

“All in all, life here is busy, colorful and good,” Runqi Zheng, who is participating in the ROSE program at the Guanghua School of Management at Peking University in Beijing, said. "All of us must have pictured college life, but few would dream one like this.”