Home EMU group traveling in China reported safe after quake

EMU group traveling in China reported safe after quake


Item by Jim Bishop

Sixteen students, a faculty member and a staff person from Eastern Mennonite University are safe in China following the devastating May 12 earthquake there. Their travel and study plans are being modified, but the group will complete their scheduled term.

Part of the EMU group had arrived in Beijing May 12 just before the earthquake struck. The city of Chengdu, located in southwest province of Sichuan and epicenter of the 7.8 earthquake, was to have been the center of the EMU group’s three-week experience.

“We received word in bits and piece from our program leaders that all were safe,” reports Beth Aracena, associate dean for curriculum and EMU’s cross-cultural program. “We communicated the group’s safety immediately to parents of the students. Since then we have since turned our thoughts and prayers to the many people of China who are enduring great suffering.”

The cross-cultural study plans included three days of visits to historic and religious sites in Beijing, followed by two weeks in the College of Foreign Languages and Cultures at Chengdu University of Technology. Students were to stay on campus with Chinese peers.

Leah Boyer, assistant professor of physics, is the faculty member leading the group and a Chinese-born American.

“I am so proud of this group of students. They are really handling the situation really well,” Dr. Boyer said. “Our prayers go out to the thousands of people here in the aftermath of the destruction.”

Also accompanying the students is Jonathan A. (Jon) Kratz, director of international student services for EMU.

The group is scheduled to return to the United States on June 5.



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