Chinese Students Learn to Produce American TV at Frostburg State University Camp

Jul 25, 2017 2:35 PM

Sixteen students from China are experiencing a crash course in American TV production at Frostburg State University’s TV3 studio this month.

These Chinese students are participating in the first-ever Frostburg Media Camp, where they are learning how to shoot and edit video, produce a studio show and work behind the scenes in the control room.

Fifteen students from Communication University of China-Beijing and one from Communication University of China-Nanjing traveled to FSU for Frostburg Media Camp. CUC-Beijing and FSU have existing agreements for a cooperative M.S. in applied computer science degree and international student exchanges, and this camp grew from those partnerships, said Dr. John Bowman, FSU vice provost.

Wendy Li, 20, from the Guangdong province in China, is a digital media technology major at CCU. Her schoolwork focuses on graphic design and data, and the FSU camp is the first time she’s had access to TV studio equipment. Her favorite piece of equipment to work with was the teleprompter, where scripts are loaded for on-camera talent to read, she said.

The students were tasked with producing a story idea into a video, resulting in a final product at the conclusion of camp.

“We shot a video about our experience on the campus,” Li said. Her favorite part about FSU is Chesapeake Dining Hall, where she’s been able to sample a variety of American food. It’s the first time Li has visited the U.S., and she said she is considering spending a semester studying at FSU as an exchange student thanks to the camp.

It’s also the first time for Dr. John Lombardi, professor of mass communication, to lead a camp, and working with an entire class of Chinese students at that. While Lombardi is pushing his students to move beyond their comfort zone, he’s had to adjust himself to match their enthusiasm to learn new skills.

“They’re challenging me to challenge them,” he said. “The language barrier is real. It’s not overly significant – it’s there, but they take ownership of that. They expect themselves to overcome it rather than us to overcome it for them.”

It’s a good problem to have.

“At first I was expecting them to do a short video. Now I’m expecting them to tell a more coherent, in-depth story,” in addition to creating an episode of a show, Lombardi said.

The visiting Chinese students are getting quite an American experience through the three-week multimedia camp.

“We try to expose them to American culture and American media in different capacities,” Lombardi said.

Their experience started in New York City seeing “School of Rock” on Broadway, visiting the National September 11 Memorial Museum and new World Trade Center. They also scored some face time on NBC’s “Today” while outside on Rockefeller Plaza.

Then the camp visited Washington, D.C., seeing the monuments and memorials, Smithsonian museums and the Newseum. As a break during the workshops in Allegany County, the students took park in a quintessential American experience: visiting the county fair.

The students have gained an immersive television production experience using state-of-the-art equipment in the FSU-TV3 studios and Gira Center for Communications and Information Technology, while also practicing their foreign language skills through receiving all instructions in English.

Amber Zhang, 19, of the Zhejiang province in China, is also a digital media technology major at her home institution. It was cool to see buildings and places in America in person, she said, as opposed to TV. She said she felt welcomed by the hospitality in America.

“People here are very friendly,” Zhang said. “What surprised me is when I walk on the streets, every person will greet me, which is different from China.”

Students have maintained a positive attitude with so much to learn and master in a relatively short time, bringing a smile to Lombardi’s face.

“The level of creativity is impressive,” he said. “The shots that I’ve seen, the pictures that they’ve taken are very good from an artistic standpoint and aesthetics standpoint.”

At the conclusion of the camp on Friday, July 28, students will present their final projects to the FSU campus in the Multimedia Learning Center and Planetarium.

For more information about mass communication studies at FSU, visit

Situated in the mountains of Allegany County, Frostburg State University is one of the 12 institutions of the University System of Maryland. FSU is a comprehensive, residential regional university and serves as an educational and cultural center for Western Maryland. For more information, visit or Follow FSU on Twitter @frostburgstate.