Texas A&M International University students will combine learning and recreation this summer when they travel to several countries in Europe to participate in student exchange programs offered at different business schools.
The students, most of whom are enrolled in the College of Business Administration, will travel to Berlin and Frankfurt (Oder) Germany; Brest, France; and Córdoba, Spain in different groups in May, June and July. A total of 20 students will participate in the program and travel to one or more of the three countries.
Once in Europe, the students will take classes for one month and learn about subjects that affect that continent such as the European Union, the European monetary integration, the economic situation and history of each of the countries visited. In addition, students will go on tours of major corporations and partake in cultural activities.
Jannet Garcia, associate director for the Institute for International Trade at A&M International, said the students will be able to gather a wealth of information about the European economy during their stay in Europe.
"The exchange program has been on-going for a few years. The purpose of the program is to offer local students an opportunity to go abroad and learn about doing business in another country and especially Europe," Garcia said.
"Many times, our students are afraid to study abroad, but by offering a short-term summer program where they will be accompanied by a professor, we are providing a structured program as well as a safety net for our students," she said.
Upon completion of the program, students will earn three credit hours, Garcia said.
The first group of students, accompanied by Dr. Stephanie Smith, assistant professor of finance, will leave Laredo on May 15 to attend classes at the Fachhochschule für Technik und Wirtschaft, a business school in Berlin.
The students will also visit Europa Universität Viadrina, located in Frankfurt (Oder), Germany.
The second group of students, led by Dr. Rama Yelkur, assistant professor of marketing, will leave Laredo mid June to visit Ecole Supérieure de Commerce in Brest, France.
The third group of students, accompanied by Dr. Alain Genestre, assistant professor of management, will leave early July to visit Universidad de Córdoba in Córdoba, Spain.
The three European schools have mutual collaborative agreements with A&M International's College of Business Administration.
The College of Business Administration has agreements with 16 universities in Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, France, Germany, Mexico, Morocco, Spain, Paraguay, Canada and Argentina.
Students who will participate in the visits said they hope to learn the differences and similarities between the United States and Europe.
"I hope to gain an international experience and to learn about other cultures," said Carlos Ramírez, a marketing student who will travel to Germany. "I also want to learn the way business is conducted abroad."
Another student, Jeannette de la Paz, an English student who will travel to France, said she hopes to learn about the change in the European monetary system.
"I want to see how the monetary system will change," de la Paz said.
Halia Valladares, a student who is pursuing a master's degree in international logistics, said she also hopes to travel to France to learn about that country's culture.
"I also hope to learn some French," Valladares said.
Also this summer, students from the Universidad Americana of Paraguay and Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey will be visiting A&M International as exchange students. The students will take business courses during their stay and live at the new student residential complex, the University Village.
For further information, please call Garcia at 326-2551. University office hours are 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday.