UR students studying remotely might not be able to spend their weekends in Izone, but students in China will soon be able to head to a UR-affiliated study space.

UR’s Office for Global Engagement and Center for Education Abroad (CEA) have partnered with WeWork to provide in-person work spaces for full-time undergraduate students studying remotely in China for the fall semester. 

Through this partnership, the University administration hopes that the flexible shared workspaces offered by WeWork will provide a suitable working and learning environment for students who are unable to leave China due to travel restrictions or other issues preventing them from coming back to campus.

“We chose to partner with WeWork China to help support students studying from there remotely given the large number of students remaining in China for the fall semester,” Vice Provost of the Office for Global Engagement Jane Gatewood said. “The access passes offer them locations with study and social space, and our hope is that it will help them remain better connected with one another, with their academic programs, and with Rochester.” 

Out of around 500 UR students who are currently in China, 150 students have enrolled to use the WeWork spaces. Most of the students are concentrated in Beijing, Shanghai, Xi’An, and Shenzhen, which are the cities where WeWork China has most of their spaces.

Students who sign up for WeWork spaces are given an “All Access” pass, in which they can choose to work in any of the 90 spaces across China. The pass also includes a variety of free services, including high-speed internet, access to shared spaces and meeting rooms, printers, complimentary refreshments, and sound-proof phone booths.

In order to sign up to receive the access pass, students need to respond to CEA’s online surveys. The office then sends a list of interested students to WeWork China, who then creates a badge for the students that helps identify them as those who signed up to use WeWork’s spaces through UR. The University is currently sending out a second round of surveys.

If the partnership between WeWork in China and the University is successful, Global Engagement and CEA hope to make such spaces available in other countries. 

“It would be ideal to offer this to all students everywhere, and each location must be evaluated individually,”Gatewood said. “[But right now], we wanted to try it in a place where we could work quickly.”

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