Yixin Liu

Associate Professor in Finance — Greece

Professor Liu at the entrance of the University of Athens
Professor Liu at the entrance of the University of Athens

Thanks to the assistance of a CIE travel grant, I was able to visit Hellenic American Education Center in Greece in the fall of 2013. HAEC is a relatively young university that promotes college education in English. It features a very internationalized student body and faculty as well. During my visit, I got to interact with not only colleagues/students from Greece, but also those from other European countries. I truly feel that this trip has enriched me professionally in many important ways.

At HAEC, I had the opportunity to supervise student-directed studies. Directed studies are very different from the classroom lectures that I have been used to. In a classroom setting, I go in, give lectures and assign homework. Everything is done on a weekly basis. Directed studies require the same kind of rigor but the time dimension is much more flexible. This is because many of the students there work full time and their work schedules may vary. I kept a pretty open teaching time table; sometimes I arranged two meetings a week with a student, sometimes biweekly. By working with my students, I actually learned a lot from my teaching in Greece, especially about how to ensure timely progress in the presence of irregular schedules.

The Parthenon in Athens, Greece
The Parthenon in Athens, Greece

I also enjoyed the interaction I had with HEAC faculty members. Because HAEC is a much smaller community than UNH, faculty members across different disciplines actually work closely together. I had opportunities to interact with not only business professors but also professors from music, linguistics, and others. I actually developed a number of research ideas as a result. HAEC has a research center designed to promote interdisciplinary research. At their invitation, I made a presentation of my research paper to an audience of both faculty and MBA students this past November.

My trip to Greece also opened opportunities to enhance my outreach and networking skills. HAEC was interested to tap into the vast Chinese market. To help with this initiative, I accompanied the school administrators to a Greek-China forum on higher education in September. The Greek Ministry of Education, the Chinese Embassy in Greece, as well as many well-known universities from China and Greece sent representatives to this forum. Through this event, I learned how to start collaborations among higher education institutions. I was glad to be able to help promote HAEC, the hosting university for my trip. In the future, I will also be glad to help UNH in its effort to expand collaboration internationally.

The Porch of the Caryatids at the Acropolis
The Porch of the Caryatids at the Acropolis

Time flew by quickly. By the time I came back to Durham, I had brought with me a lot of memories and experience that I believe will tremendously benefit my students and the development of my career as a professor at UNH.