by Julie Lineback

University of West Georgia President Kyle Marrero and several UWG representatives recently traveled to Chongqing, China to sign an updated study abroad agreement with Southwest University (SWU).

Dr. Marrero, center, meets with UWG and SWU representatives in Chongqing.
Dr. Marrero, center, meets with UWG and SWU representatives in Chongqing.

“In today's global environment, it's critical that our students have opportunities to interact with and learn about the cultures, economies, and concerns of people in other nations,” said Dr. Marrero. “Strategic partnerships such as those cultivated during our trip to China strengthen and provide students a broader view and experience of the world in which we live.”

College of Education (COE) Dean Dianne Hoff and Dr. Li Cao, coordinator for COE’s study abroad in China, and Lindsey Robinson, coordinator for UTeach, joined Dr. Marrero and Director of International Services and Programs Dr. Maria Doyle in meeting with SWU officials to re-sign the student exchange agreement. With help from SWU, UWG developed its first study abroad program in China. Students from each university can travel to the other for a semester or a year of study before returning to their home campuses to complete their degrees. Last fall, five students from SWU studied at UWG. In turn, several UWG students and faculty traveled to Chongqing in May as part of a month-long “Maymester” visit.

“The program promotes student success by providing a unique firsthand opportunity for UWG to broaden their international perspective, extend understanding of sociocultural diversity, and learn how China approaches the myriad of challenges facing education,” explained Dr. Cao. “It implements a partnership that aims at helping future educators develop a global perspective on educational practices.”

Transfer and exchange agreements like the ones developed with SWU demonstrates that other institutions recognize the value of the academic and cultural experiences that UWG has to offer, according to Dr. Doyle.

“These kinds of partnerships allow us to provide greater opportunities for American students and international students to learn from each other,” she said. “The intercultural perspective students gain from these interactions will be crucial to their success in an increasingly interconnected world.”

Posted on June 26, 2015