George Mason University received its first cohort of sixteen 1+2+1 students on campus in August 2005, and this group has been followed by new students arriving at the same time each year. These students come to Mason having completed their first year of college in China, and spend approximately two years studying here before returning to China for their senior year. Although the program’s academic requirements are rigorous, the students so far have found time to be active participants in campus cultural and social activities and to make a positive contribution to the Mason community. This section of the website attempts to provide useful information and advice for 1+2+1 students on campus life and activities that may be of interest at Mason.

Student Profiles

Xiaoxiao Zhang


Xiaoxiao on second right

Xiaoxiao Zhang, who was one of our two China 1+2+1 interns, is in her second year here.  During Spring break 2013, Xiaoxiao joined 13 other American students from Mason on an “alternative break” trip to Stuart, FL.  The trip mainly focused on local ecosystem restoration with environmental projects such as trail maintenance, evasive plant removal and oyster reef restoration.  (See the Photo Gallery for pictures!)  She has volunteered with a variety of other Mason sponsored projects, including at Mason’s Child Development Center.  Two things you may not know about Xiaoxiao: she has a turtle named Cash and she likes to sing in the shower!

Jie Hou


Jie Hou came to Mason in Fall 2011 from Hefei University of Technology to major in Finance.  During her first semester she studied in the English Language Institute (ELI) at Mason, where she made many international friends.  She appreciated the dedication of all her instructors in ELI, and especially noted the “Professor Huhtala brought me into the world of English writing.”

Based on her Finance professor, Dr. Pilloff’s recommendation, Jie joined the business fraternity, Alpha Kappa Psi.  Through this group, she interacts with classmates and faculty, attends career programs with alumni and companies like IBM, and went to leadership training in Philadelphia.  What more, she loves her Probability professor, Ms. Goldin, noting that “Professor Goldin let me truly experience the mysteries of mathematics.  I wish to become an independent woman like her, always with a beautiful big smile.”

Outside of school, Jie is passionate about travelling around the US. Jie is planning to go to Canada, Louisiana, the west coast, and Hawaii before she finishes up her time here at Mason next December. Here she is by Old Faithful at Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming!