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Criminal Justice Course to be Offered in Hong Kong

New Partnership Opens the Door for Academic, Research Exchanges

UMass Lowell Image
Stephen Saravara, a lecturer in the Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology, third from left, with City University of Hong Kong faculty members Asst. Prof. Lena Yueying Zhong, Asst. Prof. T. Wing Lo and Asst. Prof. Yao-chung Chang.

By Jill Gambon

Eleven students will be spending part of their summer in Hong Kong learning about how the top corporations in the world keep their people and assets safe.
In a program led by Stephen Saravara, a lecturer in the Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology, the group will be studying about crime and security in Asia and the Unites States with students at the City University of Hong Kong. The program is the result of a recent agreement between UMass Lowell and City University that opened the door for faculty and student exchanges.

“It’s a great opportunity,” says Saravara, who has been named a visiting fellow at City University. 

As part of the six-credit program, which runs May 14 to June 9, students will attend classes on the City University campus three or four days a week, take field trips to area businesses and visit local attractions.  Students will get behind-the-scenes tours of security operations at international businesses including the Venetian Macao-Resort-Hotel, home to the world’s largest casino; Hong Kong Disneyland and HSBC Bank, one of the largest financial institutions in the world.

Saravara has also arranged for the students to attend Asian Securitex, an industrial security conference being held in Hong Kong, where they will be able to network with security professionals from across the globe.  A number of cultural excursions are planned so the students can soak up the sights and attractions.

“I try to pack it full of fun,” Saravara says.  

Last summer Saravara taught a similar course at the University of Macau. A dozen UMass Lowell criminal justice majors traveled with him for the course, in which University of Macau students were also enrolled. 

Student Nicholas Novello, who is majoring in criminal justice and psychology, signed up for the Hong Kong trip to broaden his knowledge about industrial security and gain international travel experience.

“I’m interested in this field of work and I want to get out of my comfort zone,” says Novello, who will be taking his first trip overseas.  He expects that studying abroad will give him an advantage when he begins his career. “Having studied industrial security in Hong Kong is the type of thing that can set you apart when looking for a job,” he says.

To date, Saravara has been to Hong Kong three times to work out details for the partnership between UMass Lowell and City University.  The schools are a good match for each other, he says, because they are both have urban campuses and offer similar programs, he says. City University has a student population of 20,000 and offers 130 programs of study.

The recently signed Memorandum of Understanding between UMass Lowell and City University includes a formal student exchange between the two universities where criminology students will be involved in research and study at both institutions.

UMass Lowell has been expanding its global reach with partnerships with more than 75 universities around the world.  Another recent addition to its network of partners is the University of Nairobi.
As students prepare for careers in an increasingly global economy, international study, research and work opportunities are more important than ever, Saravara says.

“It shows potential employers you have the character to travel abroad and be open-minded,” he says.

Summer programs are good options for students seeking international experience because they are less expensive than spending a semester or an entire academic year abroad, Saravara said.