Emerson opens global portals in Switzerland, Spain, Hong Kong

The college plans to roll out more dual degree programs in campuses outside of the United States within the next two years in an effort to internationalize the Emerson brand.

The prospective campuses President M. Lee Pelton calls “global portals” will include dual degree programs at various universities across Europe. These include Franklin University in Lugano, Switzerland, Blanquerna School of Communication and International Relations in Barcelona, Spain, and Hong Kong Baptist University.

“The purpose of the global portals is to recruit and enroll students from around the world and who do not have U.S. passports, to become students at Emerson,” Pelton said. ”Right now, the principal way, actually the only way that students enroll and matriculate, is through our Boston campus.”

The college expects to open applications for these global portals in one to two years, Vice President for Internationalization and Global Affairs Anthony Pinder said in an interview.

Each institution consists of a primarily English-speaking staff and faculty, and a fair percentage of United States exchange students. Pinder said the college looks for these features when partnering with other educational facilities.

“There’s a lot of opportunity out there in the world obviously, but if there is a language barrier that limits your ability to think creatively, to think outside the box … then you’re really limited,” Pinder said.

The global portals will have a variety of combinations for first-time students, including two 3+1 programs in Switzerland and Barcelona that will allow students to earn a bachelor’s degree in either country in three years, and a master’s at Emerson in one year. A 3+2 program will exist at Hong Kong Baptist University where students will earn a bachelor’s in three years and a master’s at Emerson in two years.

Students attending these programs must pay the tuition and fees associated with whatever university or college they currently attend, otherwise known as the host institution, Pinder said.

Programs held at Franklin University Switzerland or Blanquerna University will not include room and board. Dormitories are available at Hong Kong University.

Pinder said Emerson currently does not have institutional funds specifically available for students needing additional financial support in these dual degree programs, but the tuition at each institution abroad is relatively cheaper than Emerson’s home tuition.

To start off the college’s partnership with Hong Kong Baptist University and Blanquerna, Emerson opened exchange programs so students from either institution can experience education abroad, according to Pinder.

Senior Sydney Rae Chin is an exchange student at Hong Kong Baptist University with two other Emerson students.  

“As an Asian-American woman, going to Asia I can learn more about how I can make better representation that is actually fruitful and everything, but put that in a diasporic context when I go back,” she said.

Rae Chin said the non-Eurocentric aspect of studying in Hong Kong intrigued her. She said most of the study abroad programs she sees Emerson advertise tend to lean more towards a European curriculum.

For students interested in only obtaining a bachelor’s degree, a 2+2 program will exist at Franklin where students study liberal arts and international relations courses in two years and spend the next two years studying public communications at Emerson. When the students graduate, they will have two degrees—one in international relations from Franklin and one in public communications from Emerson.

Pinder said they will treat those in the 2+2 program like transfer students in terms of selecting classes and courses necessary to complete their dual degree.

“We would make the decision about increasing [class] sections based on the numbers of enrollment of those particular classes,” he said.

Pinder said the college predicts a revenue increase from global portals after experiencing financial success from global pathways, four-to-six week faculty-led summer programs in about 20 different countries.

“We are not trying to create programs that are sort of again earmarked for the students that can afford it,” Pinder said. “We’re looking to create pathways for students to have really exciting and innovative approaches to education and learning that is accessible to everyone.”

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