As a child growing up in Nuevo Laredo, Claudia Flores, a Texas A&M International University Student, always thought of Europe as too distant a continent to visit someday.
Lately, however, preparing for a trip to that far away continent has become Flores' pastime.
The junior marketing major, who will travel in The Netherlands and Germany with a group of A&M International business students this summer, has already organized food and raffle ticket sales, all in the hopes of ensuring an enjoyable trip.
Flores, one of six business students traveling from May 17 - June 11 as part of the 1999 A&M International Summer Exchange Program, will participate in seminars and lectures held at the International Business School at Arnhem (The Netherlands) and Europa Universität Viadrina (Frankfurt, Oder, Germany).
A&M International's College of Business Administration organizes the Summer Exchange Program yearly to foster students' learning of various countries' culture and economic structure.
"I hope to go to Europe and represent A&M International and Laredo well," said Flores, "I'm the first one in the family to go to Europe and I'm excited because my dream of visiting there is finally becoming a reality."
Students in Flores' group include Karla Stuermer, Ailed Rodríguez, Elia Rodríguez, Claudia Zurita and Antonio Zurita. Dr. Kurt R. Jesswein, A&M International associate professor of international banking, will accompany the students.
Flores said she is looking forward to learning how the European economic system operates.
"I want to see how Europeans manage their economy and the primary industries that exist there," Flores said.
Jannet García, associate director of the Institute for International Trade at A&M International, said the summer exchange program also gives many students who have not visited foreign countries the opportunity to experience different customs and share with fellow students what they have learned.
A second group of students will travel to Europe after Flores' group from June 14 to July 9. That group, accompanied by A&M International's Dr. Alain D. Genestre, assistant professor of marketing, will visit the Ecole Supérieure de Commerce in Brest, France. Students include Karla Stuermer, Edward Maya, Juan Enrique Kladis, Juan Alfredo Medina Ortíz and Brenda Garza.
For furhter information, please contact García at 326-2551. University office hours are 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.