International student Vanessa Kong studied for one year at SFU and one year at the Communication University of China to earn dual MA degrees in global communication. She is among the first 10 students to graduate from this award-winning program.

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Jobs plentiful for dual MA grads

October 06, 2015
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By Diane Luckow

Vanessa Kong and her nine classmates hold passports from all over the world but have one thing in common: they are the first 10 students to graduate with a Master of Arts in Global Communication from both SFU and the Communication University of China in Beijing.

The students studied for one year at SFU and then moved to Beijing for their second year. The program combines core courses, electives, tailored colloquia series, research papers and field placements in both countries. Instruction is in English, but students must demonstrate a basic proficiency in Mandarin or complete a non-credit introductory course.

Kong, an international student who was born in Australia and grew up in Hong Kong, speaks fluent English and Cantonese and perfected her Mandarin while in Beijing.

She found the program’s research and academic environment “extremely rigorous,” and appreciated applying her new knowledge during her field placements.

“It is a very exciting program that helped me grow personally and professionally,” says Kong.

She did her SFU field placement at Vancouver’s multicultural television station Omni TV, where she conducted market research. And in Beijing she worked for the Blue Ocean television network, this time generating news stories about China for an overseas English-speaking audience.

Now, she has just returned to Vancouver, where she believes her language skills and new MA will give her an edge in the Vancouver job market.

More than half of the students have found jobs in the three months since completing the program.

All four Chinese nationals who took the program are now working in China after securing jobs in journalism, public relations and as communication specialists.

Lyne Sitong Lin, who was born in China and grew up in Poland, spent her Beijing field placement as a reporter for the China Movie Channel (CCTV-6). She is now a public relations specialist for Shinework Media, a Beijing-based cultural promoter.

Rebeca Galindo, an international student from Colombia, is now the public communication advisor for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Colombia.

She says, “I think the ICRC valued the transcultural communication skills I earned in the program, and that I developed a higher level of critical thinking. The program doesn’t really teach you how to “do things” but “how to think” about what you are doing.”

In 2014 the Canada China Business Council recognized the program with a gold award for educational excellence.

The students received their CUC degree in a ceremony on July 1, and will receive their SFU degree on Oct. 8.