In this issue:

BU First Class 2.0 Under Construction

Global Programs is busy building BU First Class 2.0 and will be moving to the edX platform. BU First Class is the online pre-arrival course for incoming international students to help them transition to BU and the American classroom. We will be adding a few new components this year, including, immunization and insurance information and a mentorship program. There will also be the ability for schools to add school specific information for their graduate or undergraduate students. If you haven’t had a chance to explore BU First Class 1.0 yet, please click here to explore. You will need your BU login and password. If your school is interested in adding some custom content for your students, please email Callie Sopper at

CELOP – Gateway to the American University

In response to numerous requests for an orientation and language program for high school students, CELOP developed their newest program, Gateway to the American University. The program is a two-week course for high school students from around the world. Designed to prepare them for an American university education experience through orientation and language training by leveraging CELOP’s 40 years of instruction and classroom orientation programs.

Learn more about the program

Interview with Kevin Wang, Associate Director Beijing Gateway Office

Kevin Wang

Kevin Wang joined the Boston University Global Support team in November 2016. As Associate Director for the Beijing Gateway Office, Kevin will focus on helping to advance the international profile and reputation of the University in China. We talked with Kevin to learn more about his decision to work in international education and what he is most looking forward to in his new role.

On the decision to pursue a career in international education

I came to Boston University with over six years’ experience in higher education in an international setting. Before taking this role, I worked at NYU Shanghai, the third degree-granting campus in NYU’s global network and the first Sino-US joint venture university approved by China’s Ministry of Education. It is also through this experience that I developed a strong interest in higher education, especially the educational exchange and cooperation between China and the US and the innovation of global higher education.

What attracted me most to this role is the wide range of possibilities it offers. The Beijing Gateway Office is a relatively new operation; this role requires me to think and explore with an innovative and entrepreneurial mind instead of simply following the existing patterns.

What are you looking forward to most in your new role?

As the Associate Director of BU’s Beijing Gateway Office, I look forward to seeing a stronger connection between BU and China through research collaboration, student exchange, alumni engagement and institutional partnerships. BU is a highly globalized, world-class research university while China is a growing power with the largest population in the world, I hope to create a win-win relationship where BU can enhance its global influence through its increasing engagement in China while China can also benefit from BU to advance its higher education reform.

What are the first projects you are working on?

I just returned to China after spending one month in Boston as a chance to learn about BU and its culture. The first things I am doing now in Beijing include establishing connections with the various stakeholders, visiting BU’s existing partners, and providing support to BU colleagues who are working on China-related projects. I’ll start from here and explore more.

Most memorable cross-cultural experience

When I traveled to Japan by myself last year, I went into a small tuna restaurant run by an old Japanese couple in Nara. The restaurant was hidden in a small lane, with only three tables and a bar counter. I sat at the bar counter and chatted with the couple while they were preparing food, and what surprised me was that they spoke really good English. I then learned from our conversation that they used to live in Germany for over 30 years before returning to Nara and opening this restaurant. I enjoyed the conversation and was amazed by how they lived their life.

Kevin Wang can be contacted by email at

College of Communication Production Company partners with Los Amigos de Santa Cruz

During BU’s 2017 spring break, while many were taking the time to rest and recoup from the rigors of mid-terms, six students from the College of Communications chose to spend a long, intense week working in Mayan villages in the hills high above Lake Atitlan in Guatemala. While they were making a video about a remarkably successful non-profit organization, they were also riding in tuk-tuks, eating coffee beans picked from a tree, and taking boat taxis to and from shoots. They were students in BU’s Hothouse Productions.

Hothouse Productions is a class in the College of Communication that operates as a video production company. It allows students to hone their producing and technical skills on real-world projects while earning course credit. It is the creation of Professor Garland Waller, an award-winning documentary producer–writer-director who serves as the Director of the TV Graduate Program and associate professor in the College of Communication.


The class is designed to teach valuable real-world skills while filling pressing real world needs. “There are so many great, worthy organizations out there, who do such important work – and who want to do videos to help them advance their mission – but they just don’t have the money,” says Waller. “So, Hothouse is designed to help those organizations and to challenge our students at the same time.”

This past semester, the class took their skills across the globe to Santa Cruz, Guatemala. With the support of the College of Communication’s Dean Thomas Fiedler, students from Hothouse took on the daunting challenge of traveling to Central America to produce a video about the work of Amigos, a nonprofit that seeks to improve the lives and expand the horizons of the indigenous people in one of the poorest communities in the world. Over the course of the past 20 years, Amigos de Santa Cruz has been remarkably successful; they have helped to create educational programs, youth leadership, vocational, and nutritional programs that have significantly improved life in this small community on Lake Atitlan.

“It was a fabulous opportunity for COM TV students to travel to a very different part of the world and learn about another culture at a time when that is so very important,” says Waller.

Most importantly, COM students received the opportunity to give back and use the skills they are learning every day in the College of Communication’s TV and Film program. “We had a truly extraordinary experience meeting the residents of Santa Cruz and hearing their stories. I hope that we are able to give as much to Amigos of Santa Cruz and their community as they gave to us. I’ve left this experience with a greater conviction in our work, and I’m confident this experience will positively inform my work in the years to come,” says Eileen Klomhaus, COM’17.

Are you planning a global activity abroad? Contact Adeline Wong in our global support team to ensure a successful trip.

Study Abroad Student Spotlight: Shawn Foley

For junior Shawn Foley, studying abroad has been an opportunity to step outside of his comfort zone and immerse himself in a new culture. A double major in Biology and German Language and Literature, Shawn traveled to Dresden, Germany this past fall with the German Science Study Abroad Program, to study at the Technische Universität Dresden (TUD), one of the oldest and most prestigious technical universities in Germany.

Shawn 1

After a memorable experience this fall, Shawn returned to Dresden this spring for the German Studies Program where he will enroll in intensive language and cultural immersion courses. “After the Dresden science program, I was looking to come back to Dresden for more. This time, I wanted to connect with the university by taking my courses in their native language. I looked at the German Studies program because it offers me the academic flexibility to explore new things, but also the ability to explore them in German,” says Foley.

The Dresden programs have had several students return to the historic city to study abroad again. Silke Fimmel, Director of the Dresden Study Abroad programs, credits this to the sense of community created amongst students. “Our students are accommodated in one of Dresden´s student dorms (Max-Kade-Haus), which makes it easy to forge friendships with German and other international students. The immediate vicinity of the “Gutzkowclub,” one of the “oldest” student clubs in Dresden to the dorm makes it especially easy for our students to immerse themselves in German student culture, make friends and put their newly gained German language skills to work.”

When asked about the impact of his study abroad experience Shawn discussed how studying abroad has drastically impacted his career path, “I would definitely say my time abroad influenced my future plans. After graduation, I plan on applying to German universities to get my masters in biology. I feel like BU has connected me with a new culture abroad, and helped me discover where I want to go.”

Mini-Grant Award to support assessment work in Padua

Elisabetta Convento, Director of BU Italy Programs, submitted a successful proposal for a Mini-Grant offered through the Office of the Provost to support assessment work in Padua. Her proposal, entitled Improving Learning Outcomes Assessment for Study Abroad Sites seeks to better understand how to conduct effective assessment. One goal of the proposal is to increase competency in assessing learning outcomes for language courses. The mini grant will be used to fund travel for several instructors based out of the Padua program to learn about the various approaches to assessment at Boston University as well as fund travel to conferences to learn about global learning and student engagement.