Berkeley College Prepares Students from China for Success

Contact: Ilene Greenfield
Director of Media Relations
973-278-5400, ext. 1-5122


Berkeley College

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Building upon the collaboration between Berkeley College and Guizhou University of Finance and Economics (GUFE) in China, 67 students from GUFE furthered their college education by taking courses and living at Berkeley College in White Plains, NY, during the winter semester. The students from China, who are earning credits toward their Associate’s or Bachelor’s degrees in business disciplines, were in courses with students at Berkeley College or at Westchester Community College in Valhalla, NY, for English as a Second Language (ESL) courses if needed.

“Teaching these students is much like teaching other undergraduate students,” said Blake Murray, Academic Advisor, Berkeley College Global Alliance - Collaborative Program. “Most of the students are dedicated and they want to do their very best. Through the support services Berkeley College offers, including pairing the international students with American student ambassadors, culturally immersive field trips, and learning English at Westchester Community College, the students are also learning the practical and soft skills needed to be successful outside of the classroom.”

International Students Reflect Diverse Programs of Study

The students from China enrolled in more than 30 different courses at Berkeley College that ranged from International Business and Forensic Science to Computer Applications and Writing and Research. Their fields of study include business programs in accounting, electronic commerce, finance, management and marketing.

“I choose my words more carefully when speaking to the students from China so they have a chance to ‘translate’ in their minds what has been said,” said Donna Bonofiglio, Management, Berkeley College Larry L Luing School of Business®. “The biggest challenge is getting them to understand that ‘failure’ has its benefits; it’s how you learn to be better.”

One of the courses Professor Bonofiglio teaches is Computer Applications. She said that when it comes to using these applications, they are available around the world in many languages so there is no difference teaching the curriculum in that regard.

Berkeley College

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Faculty Inspire Students to Dream Big

Guangrong Yang is earning a Bachelor’s degree in Electronic Commerce from GUFE. She expects to graduate in 2020. Her dream is to open a tea shop in China, a place where people can come in, enjoy themselves with their tea, talk and relax.

“I had the chance and took it,” Ms. Yang said of her decision to be part of the Berkeley College Global Alliance - Collaborative Program. “I came to Berkeley with an open mind and am touched by the people here. They are very kind and very responsible.  They may be my friends or resources in the future.”

Bin Dai, whose major is Economics, is graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration – Management.  He wants to return to earn his MBA in Management at Berkeley College.

“Before coming here I was not interested in studying,” Mr. Dai said. “Professor Blake was like family and helped me a lot. I had a low grade in the Financial Accounting course. He spoke with me privately once and maybe even twice a week. He told me to listen in class carefully and do the homework.  A few of us started going to the tutoring center and working as a group together, and I was inspired. Now I want to be a businessman in finance and economics.”

Berkeley College

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Daiyi Yang will attend Berkeley College in White Plains, NY, for her third consecutive semester in spring 2018. She is earning a Bachelor’s degree in Marketing and expects to graduate in August.

“At first I was nervous and did not feel brave enough to face social situations. Now my English is better and I am more confident,” said Ms. Yang.  “In both America and China people are friendly, but in China they are shy.  People here are more outgoing and let you feel their warmth.”  When she returns home to China, Ms. Yang plans to join her family’s work helping poorly educated farmers learn sustainable farming methods. “My experience here will provide me with more opportunity in the future,” she said.

Photo Captions: Top: David Testone, English, School of Liberal Arts, instructs students from China about writing a persuasive essay in the course Writing and Research during the winter 2018 semester at Berkeley College in White Plains, NY.  Sixty-seven students participated in the growing Global Alliance - Collaborative Program between Berkeley College and Guizhou University of Finance and Economics in China. Middle: Donna Bonofiglio, Management, Berkeley College Larry L Luing School of Business® speaks more slowly to students from China so they have more time to understand what is being said in English.  One of the courses she taught in the winter 2018 semester was Computer Applications. Bottom (left to right): Students Daiyi Yang, Marketing, Class of 2018; Bin Dai, Business Administration – Management, Class of 2018; and Yang Guangrong, Electronic Commerce, Class of 2020, all students from Guizhou University of Finance and Economics in China, pose for a photo in the student lounge at Berkeley College in White Plains, NY, with Blake Murray, and Academic Advisor, Global Educational Collaborative program.

Click here to view more photos taken in classes in March 2018. 

Berkeley College established the Global Alliance - Collaborative Program following several years of negotiations with GUFE. The Global Alliance - Collaborative Program at GUFE gives students from China the opportunity to earn their Associate’s degree at GUFE and complete their Bachelor’s degree at Berkeley College. To facilitate the process, Berkeley College faculty also teach courses at GUFE each semester to familiarize Chinese students with American pedagogical methods. In addition, GUFE students have participated in summer programs that focused on American culture and business at the Berkeley College White Plains campus.

As the levels of English proficiency among the students from China were evaluated, the partnership with Westchester Community College to offer English as a Second Language (ESL) emerged. “When students are from different countries the lessons are more interesting as they bring their points of view.  The direct cultural contact is fabulous and there is more interaction,” said Mario Curti, Instructor, ESL, Westchester Community College. In the winter 2018 semester, 40 of the students from China enrolled in ESL courses.

During the summer of 2017, Berkeley College professors instructed faculty members from GUFE in teaching methods and practices at Berkeley College campuses. Visiting GUFE faculty participated in workshops focusing on instructional design, cultivation of student-centered teaching discipline, course design and development, and strategies for transcending language and cultural differences.

About Berkeley College

A leader in providing career-focused education since 1931, Berkeley College is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education and enrolls more than 7,100 students – including more than 440 international students – in its Master’s, Bachelor’s, and Associate’s degree and Certificate programs. Students can study in more than 20 career fields. Berkeley College is comprised of the Larry L. Luing School of Business®, the School of Professional Studies, the School of Health Studies and the School of Liberal Arts. The School of Graduate Studies offers an MBA in Management online and in Woodland Park, NJ.

Berkeley College has three New York campuses – Midtown Manhattan, Brooklyn and White Plains. In New Jersey there are five campuses – Dover, Newark, Paramus, Woodbridge and Woodland Park. Berkeley College Online® serves a global population. For five consecutive years, U.S. News & World Report has named Berkeley College among the Best Colleges for Online Bachelor’s Programs and among the Best Online Bachelor’s Programs for Veterans. The website address is

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