By Jess Scanlon
If the walls at Rider could talk, they would definitely be polyglots based on the number of languages spoken and taught here. Conversations occur here in many languages, Chinese in particular.
Rider’s partnership with the Shanghai-based Sanda University has led many Chinese students to temporarily call Rider’s Lawrenceville campus their home away from home. In contrast to the majority of Rider students, who hail from New Jersey, New York or Pennsylvania, going home on the weekends is not an option.
But this doesn’t seem to be a problem for senior Pearl Xie.
“We think the campus life is really colorful, and also [there are] so many social activities,” she said. “We feel [U.S. students] are more independent. You can do a lot of things according to your own [schedule].”
Si Ting Fan, a senior international business major from Zhè Jiāng, a province near Shanghai in the People’s Republic of China, noticed a few differences between Sanda, where she began her education, and Rider, the school where she is currently enrolled.
“There are not as many people at Rider,” Fan said.
Rider is the smaller of the two colleges with approximately 5,700 students, including its graduate students between the two campuses. Sanda has 10,000 students
According to Sanda’s website, negotiations between Rider and Sanda began in 1998. The first group of 23 students came to Rider in spring 2005. The students were all business students, juniors in their sixth semester who came to the school for a year in the United States before returning to Sanda to complete their educations and graduate there.
Today the program has changed slightly, but it remains academically oriented around Rider’s College of Business Administration, with the students majoring in subjects like international business, accounting or business administration. It is the business program that brought Fan to Rider.
Lillian Tao, a senior Sanda student, noticed large differences in her classes.
“The students are more interested with the professors,” she said. “The professors are really very nice and knowledgeable.”
However, the two schools share many similarities.
Both are private universities, meaning they are not supported by the government. Both have two campuses. Rider was founded as Trenton Business College following the Civil War by Andrew J. Rider. Sanda was founded by a group of professors who used funding from the private sector in 1992. It was the first private university to be founded under its current communist government.
The partnership between Rider and Sanda is fairly new, having been forged in 2002.
“Business is a hot major in China,” Fan said.
The desire to do well in their careers is what drives students to try to get into certain high schools to help ensure they get into a good college. This is a change from the U.S., where most students attend high school in their district and usually only private secondary schools require an application process.
Fan will return to China after she completes her studies at Rider. In her home country, she plans to begin her career. Fan’s parents and younger brother are at her home in Zhè Jiāng. She finds being in another country without them lonely, but has considered the possibility of coming to live in the U.S.
“I like the freedom,” she said. “People here are friendly and polite.”
For now, Fan seems content with having fulfilled her childhood dream of seeing America and broadening her horizons.