One aspect of the University of Indianapolis’ extensive study abroad opportunities are “sister schools”—institutions partnered with the university to achieve a similar goal of educating students and offering opportunities abroad. UIndy’s sister schools, according to International Services Director Mimi Chase, are primarily in Asian countries such as China and Taiwan.
“Our partnerships have changed a lot in recent years,” Chase said. “…Many of our partnerships are now located in Asia….‘Sister schools’ is a unique term that we apply to our relationships in Asia. We have other partnership relationships for a variety of purposes, like study abroad partnerships for South Africa and Turkey.”
Some examples of universities in Asia that partner with UIndy are Anhui Normal University, Chinese Culture University, Providence University and Shanghai Normal University. Programs are available in both English and Mandarin.
According to the UIndy website, the university’s most recent partner, Zhejiang Yuexiu University of Foreign Languages, is located in the Zhejiang Province of China and welcomed its first class of UIndy students in 2011. There, students complete an English-intensive associate’s degree abroad before being given the opportunity to transfer to UIndy to complete a bachelor’s degree. The UIndy website says that a similar program for degree completion is offered at the Ningbo Institute of Technology in China, which is affiliated with Zhejang University.
At ZYUFL, students can study applied English, information systems, management and administration or operations management as a result of the institution’s partnership with UIndy. Similarly, NIT offers joint programs with UIndy in business and English language study, some of which are instructed by UIndy faculty.
Chase said that the university’s many partnerships with the College Consortium for International Studies and direct attachments to universities across the globe have decreased the need for UIndy-owned campuses abroad.
“Some American universities will establish a branch campus overseas. We did have that once in Athens,” Chase said. “We’ve moved away from that, because you don’t need to have a branch campus in another country, with all that entails, in order to offer opportunities to your students.”
A common deterrent for students is the expense of going abroad to study, but Chase said such opportunities can be affordable.
“I think for any of these [sister schools], the surprising thing would be how economically feasible it [study abroad] would be. They are all willing to work with us on that,” Chase said. “Study abroad itself is always affordable, because you can always find a program in a country where things cost less…. And if they [students] are interested in studying abroad at any of these sister institutions, we [at the International Services Office] can talk to them about it.”
UIndy’s sister schools in Asia and partnerships across the globe in places such as South Africa offer an array of opportunities for faculty members and students alike that include conferences, travel experience and workshops. According to Chase, programs such as these will only continue to expand.
“It’s an ever-changing, ever-growing area,” Chase said. “We are always interested in forging relationships [with institutions abroad] that would bring opportunities to our students, faculty and staff.”