APRU virtual student exchange: International education unbounded

APRU Virtual Student Exchange: COVID-19 Pandemic no Barrier for International Education

The APRU Virtual Student Exchange Program allows students to take academic courses and participate in co-curricular programmes online.

The COVID-19 pandemic has imposed travel restrictions across the world, bringing a halt to study abroad worldwide. As international exchange is integral to the development of its students, CUHK initiated the Virtual Student Exchange (VSE) Program of the Association of Pacific Rim Universities (APRU) so that students could continue their international education and experience without leaving home.

CUHK launched its pilot VSE Program for the Fall semester (Northern Hemisphere), allowing CUHK students and those from the participating APRU member institutions to take academic courses and participate in co-curricular programmes online. A totally immersive virtual student exchange experience, it is being delivered through digital technologies and platforms that enable students to encounter new ideas, cultures, experts, academics and other students from around the world.

The pilot VSE provides some 70 academic courses offered by 11 universities from eight locations on three continents, as well as co-curricular programmes that offer opportunities for cultural immersion, career preparation, global leadership skills building, and engagement in international social communities.

Other universities offering academic courses in the pilot include Chulalongkorn University, Keio University, Korea University, Osaka University, Tecnológico de Monterrey, The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Tohoku University, University of Chile, Universidad San Francisco de Quito and University of Oregon. Many APRU member universities are also participating by contributing co-curricular programmes with features that are synonymous with in-person exchanges.

Credit and non-credit undergraduate courses are available across various disciplines, bringing students knowledge and ideas from different cultural and geographical perspectives. Featuring regular online discussions, competitions, talks and workshops organised by experts, faculty, local figures and students, a wealth of co-curricular programmes complement academic studies to complete an all-round exchange experience for students.

The VSE Program has been very well received, attracting over 400 applications to its academic courses. More than 160 students have successfully enrolled in their selected courses and began their virtual studies.

APRU is a network of leading universities linking the Americas, Asia, and Australasia, and serves as the Voice of Knowledge and Innovation for the Asia-Pacific region. It has a membership of over 50 leading research universities from around the Pacific Rim.