"If you are searching for an enriching experience filled with adventure and delightful surprises go no further. MAIS features a unique approach to education that places students in an environment where their educational goals and their practical work experience are synthesized. Students in the MAIS program are given the opportunity to live abroad in China while pursuing a Masters thesis in one of several disciplines. Once I completed the program in the course of a year, I was able to find a full-time position with a company based in Irvine, CA that specializes in college applications and international philanthropy work in China. Although some of the experiences abroad were challenging at times, the personal relationships and lessons I walked away with gave me a stronger sense of who I was and the direction that I wanted to pursue with my life. I highly recommend MAIS, for its dedicated staff, unique education, elaborate adventures, and the life long memories I will always have. Thanks and Happy Trails!"
All the best,
-Matthew Beccaria (Cohort 8, 2012) ----------
"In May, 2007 when I was 21 years old, I started the MAIS program. Earlier that year I had graduated with my Bachelor's in International Affairs and received my TEFL certification. I could teach abroad with both of these credentials, but I knew I was capable of achieving more. I started Concordia with little knowledge of the MAIS program and curriculum, with the exception of knowing there was an emphasis in education or business and the opportunity to teach in Asia. It is why I joined. Earning my Master's Degree in International Studies, emphasized in education, could only solidify my passion for international edification and make me more desirable to future employees. And it truly did."
"During the year abroad I spent in Shanghai with MAIS, I taught for Scholastic Asia, a franchise of the Scholastic Publishing Company. What I had learned from my previous TEFL training, and the education classes I was taking with the MAIS program, I made the most of my year with Scholastic. And that had its rewards. Scholastic chose me for the front cover of their distribution materials, parents praised me for my zeal and passion in the classroom, and other teachers came to me for advice. At the end of my contract term, I knew my next obstacle was to complete my thesis. I chose to return home for a few months to complete this task. The thesis is a job in itself and I was unable to balance living and working abroad while trying to complete it successfully. Before leaving Shanghai, I attempted to negotiate a new contract with Scholastic. I knew the future opportunities they could offer my career would never reach what I know I am capable of achieving. So I walked away. I walked next door to their competitor, Disney English. I gave them my resume, told them they needed to hire me since I would be an asset to their company.
"Disney English had only been open in Shanghai a few months. It is Walt Disney Publishing Company's new venture on international English education. What I found interesting is that Disney English is not a franchise. It is a recognized branch and legitimate part of the international Walt Disney World Company. To me, that means there are infinite possibilities of accelerating my future career with them. I went home, finished my thesis, graduated from the MAIS program, and applied to come back to Shanghai to work for Disney English. With a Bachelor's and Master's degree in International Studies, a TEFL certification, and a year of teaching experience in Shanghai, I was offered a position. They offered me the Senior Foreign Trainer position, which is considered the second-in-command of a center's academics. When the manager is gone, I am in charge of the academic staff."
"In the last two years Disney English has opened 8 centers in Shanghai and has plans for a handful more. They are looking to expand to cities like Beijing, Hangzhou, Nanjing, Guangdong, and Hong Kong. After that, they are considering other countries they can penetrate like Brazil, Korea, Russia, and Eastern Europe. I had been working with them for roughly 6 months when the opportunity arose to help open Beijing. I chose to apply for the Learning Language Director (a.k.a. Academic Director/Manager) position. With two degrees, two TEFL certifications, 3 years teaching experience, and knowing the ins-and-outs of Disney English, I was a prime candidate."
"In the 3 years since starting the MAIS program and 1 year after completing it, I am proud to say at 24 years old, I am the youngest Director for Disney English. I have been given the responsibility and opportunity to manage an academic team and be part of opening the first Beijing Disney English center. There were obstacles that I had to overcome while I was working on my MAIS course work, and in life that I had to deal with at the same time. There were times when I thought I could not do it and wanted to give up. And there were times when I had to take breaks, reevaluate what I was doing and where I wanted to go."
"At the end of the day, regardless of the hiccups, upsets, and many miscommunications, I would not be where I am and would not have the opportunities I do if I had not continued my education with Concordia and the MAIS program. Find your strengths. Find your passions. Find a need in the world and fill it. Then you will be successful. MAIS made it possible for my passions to be successful and I will be forever grateful. I am in my career job with a successful international company doing what I love. Life is good. Good luck to you and your bright future with Concordia."
-Kimberly N. Griffin '08
Learning Language Director Beijing EC-Mall
Disney English Language Learning ----------
"MAIS in CUI is a unique and pioneer program integrating higher education and field work in China. I was deeply impressed by its practice oriented curriculum, and by the students who are more enthusiastic and realistic, but less romantic or critical in viewing China and working in China than most students I know in the West. The teamwork of the faculty is outstanding and very productive."
-Dr. Thomas Ni
MAIS Faculty and Adviser ----------
"I believe without a doubt that without the MAIS program I would not have stood a slight chance getting in (Santa Barbara District Attorney's Office). The knowledge, training and confidence I gained in China is something invaluable that will continue to influence my life and my career... I want to continue with my research about the Chinese Legal System and Human Rights."
-Cornelia T. Van Tonder '07 ----------
"The MAIS program is certainly one of a kind. It is not often that you find an international program that is located in the country of study. Being an MAIS student has certainly given me a life experience. Having the chance to live, study, and work in China has opened my eyes to the world and I was able to develop myself as a person. You will build a close bond with your Cohort, Dr. Kim and Professor Wyman will become your surrogate parents, and you will create your own group with your Chinese co-workers, students, and/or neighbors. If you work hard, finish assignments on time, and stay positive, the MAIS program will be a very rewarding and exciting adventure."
-Shawntia Key '10 ----------
"I enrolled in the MAIS program for my studies because it offered the unique opportunity to take classes from the professors living in Shanghai while working at a university in China. At Concordia University, it is possible to earn a postgraduate degree while continuing to work, which was very important to me as a mid-career professional. Studying while simultaneously taking courses provided direct access to practice newly learned concepts. Living and working in China is an eye-opening experience that everyone should attempt once in their life."
-Rebecka (Becki) Benedict '10 ----------
"I've recently joined the foreign service as an information management specialist. My training is 5 months long in D.C., and we'll be heading to our first post this coming October (2011), U.S. Embassy Phnom Penh. I first heard about the foreign service thanks to MAIS! While we were in Guangzhou, we had a visit to the consulate and were given a Foreign Service career briefing by the Public Diplomacy officers. It was a great opportunity to get some exposure to a career in the public sector and international relations."
-Tony Lim '05 ----------
"I am back in China, living and working, and that would not be the case without the Concordia program. If you want to be challenged every day and grow as a person, this program can give you the job, the support, and the master's degree while you're living in one of the most dynamic countries in the world. If you have this opportunity, do it and don't look back!"
-Christine Palowitch '07
Scholastic - Asia ----------
"There is nothing like the Concordia MAIS program for getting students kick-started into the booming Chinese economy. My students over the past five years have landed jobs in China at prestigious consulting and accounting firms, the U.S. Embassy, and top universities. Those choosing to return to the U.S. have been shown preference due to their skills, training, and experience dealing with the international economy, particularly in China. The enthusiasm and dedication of our MAIS students is amazing. These talented graduates choose to dedicate a year of their lives living, working and studying in China, a place most have never before visited. Nearly all, upon receiving their Master's degrees, would say it was the most valuable experience in their lives."
-Prof. Roger Philips
MAIS Faculty and Adviser ----------
"It's really nice to finally have a Master's under my belt. It even paid off quicker than I thought when it helped me land a nice job. I'm now working in Saudi Arabia with the Aramco Oil Company as an instructor in their Industrial Training Center in the city of Ras Tanura. I teach technical English to the employees at the refineries and out on the oil rigs in the Persian Gulf. I've been here four months now and it's going really well. I may be here for quite some time."
-Gerald Lakatos '08
Industrial Training Center Instructor
Aramco – Saudi Arabia ----------
"I have been teaching at MAIS since 2008 and working with applicants and students since 2011. MAIS impresses me greatly in that it is a unique program integrating graduate school, overseas employment, TESOL certification, travels, adventures, cultural experience, and networking opportunities in a fast-paced and ever globalized society."
"At MAIS, I have never ceased being amazed and inspired by the discipline, commitment and focus our students have displayed both academically and professionally. When our students are in China, their cultural sensitivity is further honed and their vision toward their future is brought into sharper focus. The MAIS experience helped our students dig deeper into their own potentials. Students learn to improvise, be creative and resourceful when navigating through a new culture. The research opportunity, the teaching, the interaction with the local communities in China, and their pursuit of a meaningful M.A. degree at an accelerated environment, have all contributed to make the MAIS journey an unforgettable one for all who have gone through MAIS and who are eager to start each year."
"I feel proud and blessed assisting the MAIS students in stepping closer to their dreams in life."
-Dr. Yi Schuler
MAIS Associate Director ----------
"Joining this MAIS program has made a big impact on my life experience. I was able to adapt to a totally different culture and learn to live independently out of my comfort zone. I was able to learn the language and use it on a daily basis to get around not only Shanghai, but all around the other China provinces. This MAIS program has given me a chance not only to appreciate what I already have, but also to see how much more there is out there in this world. The benefits of joining this program are that I was able to live abroad, learn the culture and language, make new local and foreign friends, and travel. Traveling was the best part! Besides exploring the different provinces in China, I also traveled through 5-6 different countries during my time there. Joining this program was definitely one of the best decisions I have ever made! Not only did I get to do everything I mentioned above, I also earned my Master's degree! What more can you ask for? I can't get enough of it! I still want to go back to China! Just don't forget that you are there to complete your internship and degree! Study hard, work hard, and play hard!"
-Phuong Vuong '08
Phoenix International Freight ----------
"With my work experience in telecommunications industries, logistics, human resources management, managing sales in medical industries, and in the education field, I am able to share my experience as an advisor in project theses of the MAIS program. The students in the program were not only enthusiastic but passionate, eager in their learning and had lots of initiatives, particularly in project theses. The MAIS program itself has a comprehensive coverage from understanding of the Chinese history and culture, learning the fundamentals of the Chinese language to understanding global economics and enterprise coupled with statistical analysis study, allowing students to confidently apply their knowledge to market analysis and business planning for economic success of a global enterprise, and not forgetting students will be well geared for a China-related career."
-Dr. Henry Leong
MAIS Adviser ----------
"Working at a job that would not have been possible had I not worked in China and worked toward a master's degree with Concordia. I am buying parts and planning for a multinational semi-conductor company. I speak Spanish and Chinese every day. Other than the hours behind the computer, I am definitely enjoying it!"
-Patrick Joyce '09
Temecula, CA ----------
"This program allows students to mix theory, research, and personal creativity on a global scale. As advisors, we can assist the students continuing on a path of success. It's a privilege to be a part of this success which translates in any language or career path."
-Prof. Ryan Wright
MAIS Adviser ----------
"The Concordia MAIS Program has helped me to live out a real-life adventure living in China while achieving a master's degree at the same time. It's a multi-tasker's dream come true! After my first year in China, I have clearer defined career goals, sharper personal identity, and a lifetime of laughs and memories made while forging my way through cultural differences. The gem of the program for me has been the thesis process. My research has opened doors for me in professional and personal ways that I never dreamed possible when entering this whirlwind of a program. I have confidence now knowing that when I go into an interview in my future I not only have a competitive Master's degree, but I also have experience living in a multi-cultural environment overseas. Living in China is an everyday adrenaline rush and I cannot think of a better way to gain higher education."
-Jessica Griner '09
Hangzhou Normal University ----------
"The MAIS program gave me the valuable opportunity to step outside my comfort zone and to challenge myself. You will learn new things about yourself you never knew, all while earning your Master's degree and living and working in China. The Chinese culture is unique, vibrant and moving to a tune that is all its own and with Concordia's MAIS program you will be right in the heart of it all! It is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that will remain with you forever."
-Amy Kao '09
"The MAIS program is an unforgettable experience - from the first summer on-campus to living and working abroad in China. I can honestly say my two years spent in Shanghai were the best years ever. As part of Cohort 4, the program itself was very new, but the faculty and administration for the MAIS program have been wonderful. I have made lifelong friends with classmates and memories that will last forever. This is truly a program that has changed my life and helped define who I am today - confident, strong, and able to tackle any obstacle thrown my way."
Lisa Quach - MAIS '09 ----------
"If you are not making progress you are falling behind. For only one reason did I temporarily sacrifice an excellent paying job and a promotion in the States. China! Concordia Irvine's MAIS program afforded me the opportunity to actually live what I was reading about in The Economist and The Washington Post. Now, three years later, I still find myself loving life in China and the Far East. Through self-initiative, I have been given assignments, found opportunities, and traveled to countries that my friends, family, and colleagues back home can only imagine."
-Kelley Lawson '07
Dept. of State -- U.S. Consulate Shanghai ----------
"'Nothing ventured, nothing gained. Risk taking is the only way to know your true limits. Follow your dreams while you still can and never look back.
'Two roads diverged in the woods, and I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference." According to Education Statistics in 2012, only 8% of the entire U.S. population has a Master’s Degree. I moved to China in 2011 and it is one of the best decisions of my life. During my time in Hangzhou, aside from teaching classes at Zhejiang Institute of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering and studying, I also had the opportunity to travel to Malaysia, Singapore, Seoul, Macau, Hong Kong, Cebu, Bangkok, Phuket, Hainan Island, Haikou, Sanya, Harbin, Beihai, Dongxing, Guangzhou, Zhuhai, Shitong, Xiamen, Beijing, Japan and Shanghai ( 7 countries and 20 cities). I traveled more in one year than most people do in a life time and I know how lucky I am. I also completed my Master’s Degree in International Business timely.
Without this program, I would not have been able to work and study abroad while meeting the amazing people at Concordia and my students in Hangzhou. Nothing is easy in life and it was definitely not a walk in park, having to work and study at the same time. I'm not going to sugar coat anything and my thesis was the single hardest paper I've ever written. I knew I couldn't give up and persisted on. Failure wasn't an option and I just had to believe in myself. I never gave up. In retrospect and reminiscing back, it was all worth it in the end. There is a light at end of the tunnel and I MADE IT! I want to thanked my friends, Dr. Peters, Dr. Schuler, Dr. Wang, Dr. Kim, my family, especially my boyfriend Nick Pham who never gave up on me. I am very lucky to have the support and encouragement to get me through MAIS program."
Kathy Hoang (cohort 2011)
"The Master of Arts in International Studies from Concordia University was an amazing experience for me personally and professionally. It was challenging to live and work in China. My students at the Zhejiang College of Tourism, where I taught, were fun and often gave me a fresh perspective on life and learning. My coursework helped me to develop my skills and made me a better teacher and leader. In the end, I think that I took away more than I gave. I have life-long friendships and cherished experiences which have changed my life for the good."
Coordinator, Safehouse International ----------
"China is more than just the tourist spots or the mention of grandiose economic growth. It is the complex inner-workings of social and personal behaviors of its people that made my China experience worthwhile. I took advantage of the online learning management system, learning the inner-workings and applying it to courses at the school I worked at. The tools and resources I have gained at Concordia University were more than enough for me to succeed. Having ambitious classmates in my cohort not only expanded my friendship circle but drove me to complete the thesis and graduate sooner than expected. The enthusiasm and drive we shared among the cohort are simply priceless."
-Garret Vang '10 ----------
"The MAIS program gave me the opportunity to work and study in China. I had a truly unforgettable work, life, and educational experience. I recently graduated, and am still working in China. Dr. Kim, Professor Wyman, and my thesis adviser Dr. Chung have all been like parents to me. Currently I am working at Zhejiang Media and Communications University, and I love China. Younger people looking to enrich their lives, as well as older students such as myself, should consider this opportunity!"
-Frank Merritt '10
Professor, Zhejiang Media and Communications University ----------
"Joining the MAIS program at the University of Concordia, Irvine was both exhilarating and rigorous. Concurrently teaching and taking online graduate courses was challenging, but it taught me to balance my time, prompted me to be organized, and most importantly developed the ability to prioritize - in life as well as in the program. This life-changing experience in China also gave me a new profound outlook on life. I came to appreciate teaching, developed my leadership potential, and improved my communication skills."
"Despite the busy schedule, I was able to enjoy Chinese culture and meet new people. From the beauty of Shanghai's city lights at night to the authentic Chinese street food - it was unforgettable. I found lifelong friends in my MAIS colleagues and co-workers. During my time in China, I became ill and was hospitalized. If not for the help of my MAIS friends and support from Dr. Kim and Prof. Wyman, I would not be where I am today. The MAIS program in China will challenge you; it will also give you a chance to achieve personal growth, build new friendships, and create memories that will last a lifetime."
-Chantear Song '09
Jincai High School International Division ----------
"I was the FIRST student in my cohort completing my Master's thesis with success. All together it took me 14 months to earn my Master's degree.
My year with MAIS in China was rewarding and enjoyable. When I first became aware of this program, I thought it was too good to be true as a Master's degree while living in China was everything I hoped to find after graduating college! When I started MAIS, I never thought I would still be here a year later with friends I'll have for a lifetime.
MAIS was not my first experience studying abroad, but it was the most life-changing one. China is not necessarily an easy country to adjust to, especially coming from a Western standpoint. I learned here that I can adapt to my environment better and quicker, even though I was completely outside of my comfort zone. With the online portion of classes, I further strengthened my work ethic, dedication and independence, which will help me in any career path I may choose. Lastly, MAIS taught me that the world really is our classroom, and there will never be a better education available than the experiences we gain from traveling, studying and working in a drastically different country such as China!"
-Allison Sobol, Cohort 7 (2011) ----------
"I participated in cohort 3 and since then have found my way to Switzerland. I currently work for Oakley (European headquarters), located in Zurich, Switzerland. The MAIS and China experience helped me as it underscored the importance of flexibility and having an open mind to be successful. Living and working in a country like China, still in my opinion the most different culturally and lifestyle-wise than our western culture, required both an open mind to enjoy myself and flexibility to get things done. I currently work as part of a completely international team where we have to consider cultural differences, both internally in the team and externally with sales teams or customers throughout Europe and the Middle East."
– Jonathan E. Cohort (2007) ----------
"Moving to Shanghai, and enrolling in Concordia's MAIS program, was a worthwhile experience. As someone who had been all over the globe (traveled to 58 countries before entering the program, and had lived in parts of China before), I wanted to live and work abroad while obtaining my Master’s degree. Concordia University's MAIS program allowed me to both further my studies, while providing me the opportunity to live and work abroad in an exciting environment. Through the program, and through my previous teaching experience, I was able to move to Shanghai and secure a job as a professor at Shanghai University. While the program at times was very challenging (esp. when taking into consideration the demands of work and establishing a social life in a new place), it was also very rewarding. I had a wonderful year living and working in Shanghai, and am currently still living in Shanghai (even after completion of the program). I think that this program, along with the degree you'll receive upon completion, is very unique in that both will be whatever you decide to make of them: if you decide to take full advantage of the opportunity you have, while living in China and completing the program, then the experience will be very rewarding; on the other hand, if you do not take full advantage of the opportunities you are given, then both will be a painstaking experience."
– Josh Burns (Cohort 7, 2011) ----------
“In my opinion, everyone that can should seek an opportunity for full immersion in a foreign country. There is no substitute for the experiences and personal development available through living abroad. If you are hardworking, ambitious, and adventurous, then you are fit for this program. The MAIS program allowed me to expedite the results I was already seeking to accomplish in my life (i.e. rich cultural, business, and language experiences while living in China, Master’s Degree, etc.). My story: During my senior year of undergraduate work, I searched for the right program that would allow me to live in China for an extended period of time. I already assumed that time in China would greatly enrich my life and my professional development. I just happened upon this program, and it was like finding buried treasure. In fact, it seemed too good to be true. I had a hard time trusting the program at first for that reason. Now, 18 months later, I can attest to the greatness of the MAIS program, and the sincerity of the faculty responsible for it. The MAIS program significantly enhanced all that I was able to learn and experience while in China. Had I gone on my own, without the resources available through this program, I would have missed out on much of the valuable insights and knowledge of Chinese business that I gained through MAIS. It was also a tremendous blessing to have MAIS faculty acting as a both liaisons and overseers in the selection of the university where both my wife and I taught. Having heard so many horror stories about teaching in China, it was very comforting to have experienced professionals with whom I had developed relationships on my side, heavily involved in securing the best teaching and living environment possible for us. I loved teaching at Zhejiang Chinese Medical University in Hangzhou, and I love the faculty and students there. I still communicate electronically with many. My time in China was priceless, and nobody can ever take that away from me."
– Kevin Albee (Cohort 7, 2011) ----------
“The MAIS program has helped me become a better teacher. I had taught a year in South Korea before starting this program but never had formal classes about education. I wanted to complete my Masters degree while still living overseas. This program was perfect to enable me to live, teach, and study in China, the place I love. I knew before starting this program that God wanted me to live here forever from a previous trip to China. If it weren’t for MAIS bringing me for a season to live in Shanghai I wouldn’t have become the Shanghai Healing Home Volunteer Coordinator and led two English Corners. I am so thankful for all the opportunities and knowledge this program has brought into my life. I look forward to what lies ahead. Thank you for such an amazing experience and education here in Shanghai."
– Sara Cohort 7 (2011) ----------
“The MAIS program offered me an amazing experience to get my Master’s degree while having a year-long adventure in China. Every day I learned something new, whether through my studies, amazing students, or just through daily life in rural China. Nearly all daily activities turned into an adventure, whether trying to figure out the bus system to get to Shanghai, or buying fruit from a local store (which you think would be easy, but turns out that sometimes it’s not!). My year in Lin’an (outskirts of Hangzhou, Zhejiang province) made me a stronger, confident and more patient person, teaching me more about myself than I thought possible. At times it was difficult to try and balance my MAIS work, my teaching schedule and still have a personal life. Despite this busy schedule, I made some of the best friends a girl could ask for and have so many memories of our time together. As a professional, I can now go into an interview and know that my multi-cultural experience makes me stand out as an individual. After my year in Lin’an, I am confident I can tackle any challenge I may face.“
– Courtney Eads ----------
“The MAIS program was a life changing experience for me. In the past I have had the opportunity to travel and work in many countries but none of those experiences compare to the year I spent in Hangzhou, China. My year was filled with growth, endless adventures, laughs, and memories to last a lifetime. The students I taught at Tourism College of Zhejiang were unlike any other students that I taught in other countries. They taught me so much about their culture, language and about myself, just as much as I taught them. Many of my students’ families took me in during holidays and festivals and treated me as though I was a part of their family. Through their hometown visits, I got to travel to cities that I never knew existed and eat the most remarkable homemade Chinese food. I learned the art of “Guanxi” and networked with my students’ families which led to relationships with various businesses in Zhejiang Province during my time there and have future plans to return for business someday."
"After completing the MAIS program, I decided to pursue the MAIS/MBA joint degree as well. With two Master’s degrees, it has led me to a path with many open doors to pursue business, international education, etc. I feel blessed for the opportunity to have gone to China with the MAIS/MBA program and can’t imagine what my life would be like if I hadn’t pursued that incredible journey of a lifetime."
– Diana La (cohort 2011)
"I recommend the MAIS program to any student who wishes to globalize their
resume while concurrently earning a higher degree. Immersion into a foreign
culture was intense, educational and rewarding. The course work was
relevant, inspirational and informative, I never dreamed I'd learn so much as
an individual and as a student. The experiential learning approach not only
offered practical teaching experience, but also allows students to practice
new and exciting teaching methods into their classroom. There is a strong
sense of community within the cohort and the support from Concordia staff,
professors and administrators. With dedication and determination, it is
possible to earn your Master of Arts degree in one year. With this degree I
was able to secure a permanent position with Al Yamamah University in
conjunction with Saudi Interlink Language Centers in Riyadh."
Shawn Yaroch (Cohort 2012) ----------
"CHINA IS BEAUTIFUL and I AM EXCITED TO BE HERE! The university campus that I am teaching at in China is BEAUTIFUL!!!!! I will never forget Concordia's home campus, and the richness that it provides for the MAIS students. Concordia is a powerful school!!!!"
Dianne R. (Cohort 2013) ----------