Clark University has a rich tradition of attracting an exceptionally diverse community of students from around the world who find common ground and build meaningful relationships as they live and learn together. A student body representing many diverse nationalities, perspectives, and experiences benefits the whole Clark community — and enhances the learning experience in and outside the classroom.
Some international students, however, need to improve their English language skills before beginning college-level studies at a U.S. university. For them, Clark has created the Global Leaders and Scholars Program (GLS).
“Developed to further globalize our campus and make Clark more accessible to the world, this program is designed to attract international students with strong academic backgrounds, who aspire to be future global leaders and scholars,” says John LaBrie, dean of the School of Professional Studies and associate provost. “We provide an opportunity for international students to transition to studying in the U.S. without delaying their academic progress, while also having a rich intercultural and transnational experience.”
The program prepares students for academic success in the U.S. by providing the English language, classroom, and campus life skills that make earning an undergraduate degree in the U.S. possible. GLS students begin their college experience at either the prestigious East China Normal University (ECNU) in Shanghai or the Council on International Education Exchange (CIEE) Global Institute in Berlin, where they study English for the American classroom and other university-preparation courses. Students then pursue their bachelor’s degree in business, the humanities, or science in-person at Clark University.
Each campus offers ample opportunity to connect with other students from around the world and the U.S., creating peer relationships that will travel from the host cities abroad to the Clark campus in Worcester, Massachusetts. Students participate in a full academic schedule as well as social and cultural activities on campus and in their city, including excursions to local historic and cultural attractions, and social and networking events.
The program’s goal is to attract adventurous students eager to travel to the U.S. for college who could benefit from one year of English language preparation before fully immersing themselves in a U.S. college setting, LaBrie says.
“This program is consistent with Clark’s long and proud history of attracting and reaching out to students from around the globe,” says Meredith Twombly, vice president of undergraduate admissions and financial aid. “We value having them here on our campus, but we know some students who would love to come to Clark still need some extra preparation in English. This program meets them where they are.”
After two semesters of study in Berlin or Shanghai, GLS students arrive at Clark for a summer of continued English language instruction and immersion in American culture to prepare them for academic success and social integration in the U.S. Students then complete their sophomore through senior years at Clark, earning their undergraduate degree.
“This program is extremely well designed — year one lays the critical foundation, both socially and academically, for the next three years. It sets students up for success and for a truly transformational educational adventure,” says Twombly.
Students also are prepared for career success through academic support and advising, career exploration and work experience with U.S. employers, job shadowing opportunities, and alumni networking events. Students are able to develop a social and academic network of fellow students and alumni while immersing themselves in study abroad.
There are a number of pathway or bridge-type programs currently available at U.S. colleges, but the ability to start a program globally — essentially studying abroad as a first-year student — and then to complete the degree at Clark is a new concept and is unique to the GLS program. The fact that it is powered by an institution, without the assistance of a third-party, for-profit company, also sets the program apart.
“This gives us more control and academic flexibility, which is an advantage for the students,” says Jerry Czub, senior director of graduate enrollment management. “We also have the benefit of our collaboration with CIEE.”
Students beginning their studies in Shanghai or Berlin will also have the opportunity to tap into a diverse population of students from across the U.S. who have traveled to those locations for their own study abroad experiences, Czub notes.
And for parents of GLS students, the program provides peace of mind about their child’s transition to the U.S. by simplifying the college search and eliminating the pressures and anxiety of the typical college application process. By offering a mission-focused program, Clark puts the best interests of the students and their families first.