Chinese Nursing Delegation Leaves GCU on Joyful Note
By Doug Carroll
They’re still excited about “Mr. GCU,” they’ve mastered the “’Lopes Up” sign and today they’re on their way to the Grand Canyon after two weeks at GCU that changed perspectives if not lives.
The delegation of 22 nursing students and faculty from China’s Changchun Medical College received a rousing sendoff Thursday evening at a farewell dinner in McKinley Hall that was a solid two hours of singing, dancing, laughter and heartfelt appreciation.
“The two weeks passed very quickly,” said Dr. Yuan Zhaoxin, dean of the CMC nursing faculty, known to everyone in the room by the nickname of “Jacky.”
“All of us appreciate the things GCU has done for us. Your great hospitality filled our hearts from the first day. We are very moved, indeed.”
The visitors said the educational and social highlights of their stay were numerous and won’t be forgotten.
“This is another world for us,” said Dr. Changping Zou, an obstetrician who was on the faculty of the University of Arizona Medical School six years ago and has known Assistant Dean Cheryl Roat of GCU for 10 years.
GCU represents “another family for us on the other side of the ocean,” she said.
Houston-born Aaron Zhang, 19, who works as an English teacher in China and served as a translator on the trip, wrote an original song for the occasion — and performed it much better than he did a tortured version of “We Are the Champions” at an on-campus karaoke night in Canyon Hall.
“At my college in China, we don’t have a swimming pool, a beauty pageant or a karaoke night,” Zhang said. “We focus on studying, studying, studying. Americans are focused on academics, but they also have a little fun. The culture is a big difference.”
As video highlights were shown of the all-male “beauty pageant” better known as “Mr. GCU,” the guests roared with delight at the sight of Jacky wearing a toga.
“I was so happy to spend that night at ‘Mr. GCU,’” Jacky said, completely serious, adding that he also was honored to have been featured in GCU Today’s coverage of the event last week.
While in Phoenix, the group also attended a Suns game. “They won!” Zou exclaimed.
Assistant Professor Kay Turk of GCU said that earlier in the day Thursday, the visitors were amazed by a therapy dog at Cardon Children’s Medical Center — an example of things that are regarded as routine here but exceptional over there.
“They couldn’t believe it,” Turk said. “We explained to them that the children are sick and they feel better by petting the dog, and they thought the concept was wonderful.”
Turk, who with Assistant Professor Anne Wendt started building the relationship with the Chinese years ago, identified a theme to the exchange, which began with a visit to Changchun last summer by a GCU contingent of similar size.
“We’re far more alike than different,” Turk said. “We’re trying to look at health care from a global perspective, and this is how you do it.”
From Dean Anne McNamara, the Chinese received gifts that included framed certificates, personalized Bibles and jars of prickly pear jelly. In appreciation of their hosts, they performed two special dances in a cleared-out part of the room.
“These projects are such life-changing events,” Wendt said. “Our lives in China and Arizona intersect, and important things happen.”
Contact Doug Carroll at 639.8011 or firstname.lastname@example.org.