California State University, Long Beach
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Lions Dance Through Campus

Published: March 16, 2015

On March 10, students and faculty from CSULB’s Department of Asian and Asian American Studies performed a Chinese Lion Dance Procession to raise awareness and funding to support students studying abroad this summer. Typically performed during the Chinese New Year celebration, the Lion Dance is said to bring good luck as the department raises funds to support travel for 15 students hoping to study abroad this summer in Shanghai.

“Students who are participating in study abroad programs have a unique opportunity to be immersed in a different culture, and that exposure provides them with a worldly view that is critical to success in today’s global economy,” said Teri Yamada, professor and chair of the department of Asian and Asian American Studies.

Study abroad programs have been identified as a high-impact practice that leads to improved student outcomes. In addition to an immersive experience in a different culture, students build relationships with classmates, faculty and staff that extend well beyond the classroom.

In the 2012-13 academic year, 684 CSULB students participated in a study abroad program. The university has set a strategic goal of doubling the number of students who study abroad to both improve student retention and to better prepare individuals for success in today’s global economy. Financial aid for summer terms is typically limited to loans, presenting challenges for students from low-income families to participate in study abroad. CSULB President Jane Close Conoley was recently in Washington D.C. advocating for the return of year-round Pell Grants and policymakers have also recently introduced legislation to provide Pell Grants that cover the entire academic year.

“My desire to absorb the culture and improve my communicative abilities is what drives me to go abroad because, as China continues to ascend, there will be more of a need to communicate effectively between American and Chinese businesses,” added Sarah Musnicky, a student hoping to study abroad in Shanghai this summer. Musnicky, along with several other CSULB students, is attempting to raise funds through GoFundMe for travel this summer.