Southeast Partners with International Institutions to Enhance Study Abroad Opportunities; Hosts Magellan Conference

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Officials with Southeast Missouri State University signed agreements with representatives from universities in Guatemala, the Netherlands and Brazil today paving the way for seamless and cost-effective opportunities for students to study abroad.

The signing ceremonies are part of a two-day Exchange Partner Conference to be followed this weekend by a Magellan Conference Oct. 1-3, both hosted by Southeast. Institutions participating in agreement signings today included Universidad del Istmo de Guatemala (UNIS) in Fraijanes, Guatemala, the University of Applied Sciences (HvA) in Amsterdam, Netherlands, the Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais (UFMG), in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, and University College – Leuven Limburg (UCLL) in Leuven, Belgium.

As part of the Exchange Partner Conference Sept. 27-28, Southeast is hosting delegates from several of its bilateral exchange partners today, who are getting the opportunity to meet faculty and staff in Southeast’s Harrison College of Business and Computing and prospective Southeast exchange students. Additionally, the partners will take tours of Southeast’s main campus, the River Campus, the Rust Center for Media and Catapult Creative House.

“We are honored to continue to build these global relationships that allow our respective students to experience educational and cultural study abroad opportunities,” said Dr. Carlos Vargas, president of Southeast Missouri State University. “We are pleased to partner with these institutions to better meet the needs of students by providing the tools, resources and support they need to succeed here and around the world.”

As part of the exchange partnerships, Southeast students can attend these overseas universities and visiting foreign students from these institutions can attend Southeast for a semester without additional fees beyond paying their home university’s tuition. The agreements also encourage collaborations between faculty and staff for teaching, research and administrative matters.

Dr. Carlos Vargas (right), president of Southeast, signs a exchange partnership with the Universidad del Istmo de Guatemala represented by Giovanni Solis (left).

The new exchange agreement with Universidad del Istmo de Guatemala (UNIS) in Fraijanes, Guatemala, was initiated when a group of Southeast business students competed at the 2018 Network of International Business Schools (NIBS) Worldwide Case Competition championship round Feb. 25-March 2 in Guatemala City, Guatemala, said Dr. Willie Redmond, the team’s coach, professor of economics and director of  International Business Programs at Southeast.

“Our first contact with this university was when they hosted the Global NIBS Case Competition last spring, and we were impressed with both the quality of their programs and their facilities,” said Dr. Peter Gordon, former director of International Business Programs at Southeast. “We are so proud to add them to our exchange partnership. UNIS offers a good selection of business classes, and its hospitality management program is similar to the one at Southeast, and our students can be confident in the quality of their education as they transition between our institutions.”

Additionally, Southeast renewed its exchange agreement with the University of Applied Sciences (HvA) in Amsterdam, Netherlands. HvA is one of Southeast’s oldest exchange partners, with an exchange agreement spanning for more than 30 years. HvA is one of the largest institutes of business education in the Netherlands, and has 47,000 students overall and 14,000 students in its Faculty of Business and Economics. Additionally, all its classes are taught in English.

Dr. Carlos Vargas (middle), president of Southeast, signs a exchange partnership with the University of Applied Sciences represented by Amie van Woudenberg-Swicegood (left).

Southeast also renewed an exchange agreement for five additional years with the Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais (UFMG), in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, and recognized the exchange agreement signed with University College – Leuven Limburg (UCLL) in Leuven, Belgium, in 2015.

UFMG is widely recognized as one of the top three universities in Brazil and offers business degrees from the bachelor’s to the doctoral level. UCLL offers a number of bachelor’s degrees in business and became a Southeast international exchange partner three years ago.

Dr. Carlos Vargas (left), president of Southeast, signs a exchange partnership with the Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais represented by Francisco Vidal Barbosa (right).

The international education partners will join Southeast officials and Magellan Exchange conference participants in a pre-Magellan networking weekend in St. Louis this weekend — visiting the Gateway Arch, the Old St. Louis Courthouse, the Saint Louis Art Museum, the St. Louis Zoo and the Missouri History Museum — before returning to Southeast on Monday for the opening of the annual Magellan Conference. Here, representatives of the Magellan Exchange, a non-profit consortium of 38 universities across 14 countries, spanning Asia, Europe and North and Central America, will give presentations, meet and network. Representatives are expected to attend from Spain, the Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, Finland, Austria, Mexico, Costa Rica and Belgium.  During this event, Redmond will give a special presentation about the University. Additionally, the delegation will take tours of Southeast’s main campus and host a networking event to interact with members of the campus and local communities.

The Magellan Exchange provides an opportunity for students to study in another country at an affordable cost. The Magellan Exchange is based upon the belief that participating in a student exchange program is the ideal way to learn about another culture and country.

“The future requires global knowledge and being at ease in other cultures, and studying abroad is the perfect opportunity to develop these skills,” said Dr. Tori Patterson, director of the Magellan Exchange. “Students will be fully immersed in the educational and social life of the host country and have experiences they could never have in any other way.”

The Magellan Exchange also facilitates faculty exchanges to achieve the same ideals.

“There are many Southeast students who are in the process of arranging study abroad activities in the upcoming semesters or are interested in studying abroad, and this will be a unique opportunity for them to meet with the administrators who will be their primary contacts before they arrive at their destinations abroad,” Redmond said. “Our students are very excited about this opportunity.”

The Magellan Exchange meeting will close with a presentation from Vargas.

Top photo caption: From left to right are Dr. Peter Gordon, former director of International Business Programs at Southeast; Giovanni Solis of Universidad del Istmo de Guatemala (UNIS) in Fraijanes, Guatemala; Amie van Woudenberg-Swicegood of the University of Applied Sciences (HvA) in Amsterdam, Netherlands; Dr. Carlos Vargas, president of Southeast Missouri State University; Sven Cerulis and Lieve Mulier of University College – Leuven Limburg (UCLL) in Leuven, Belgium; and Francisco Vidal Barbosa of the Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais (UFMG), in Belo Horizonte, Brazil.