The exchange of cultures and perspectives is its own form of education. Every year, UH celebrates International Education Week to illustrate the value it places on international exchanges.
“You don’t have to leave this university to become internationalized,” said Jerald Strickland, chief global officer for UH. “You can hear so many languages just walking across Butler Plaza.”
And while the world is at UH in the more than 4,000 international students from 130 countries, UH strives to be in the world in the many collaborations with universities around the globe. For example, there is a new exchange of life-science research and faculty at Vilnius University and Kaunas Medical University/Lithuanian University of Health Sciences—two prominent Lithuanian institutions. The agreement marks the first time an American university has forged a relationship with universities in the Baltic States.
“The signing of the two MOUs with these Lithuanian universities provides UH will have a large footprint in this small Baltic country,” said Jokūbas Žiburkus, UH assistant professor of biology and biochemistry. Žiburkus, who is native to Lithuania, initiated the MOU signings.
Beginning in 2011, the UH Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management will conduct a joint class on tourism with a class at Bethlehem University (BU).
“It’s a global travel phenomenon,” said Lydia Westbrook, director of international programs for the college. “This class will cover the business of travel, the impact of travel, not only on countries and destinations, but the host communities as well, the people that live in the tourism destinations.”
Westbrook also will co-teach the class with a professor from Bethlehem University. The UH class will meet weekly with their BU counterparts via video conferencing and other technology, and have group projects related to tourism.
“We’re hopeful that the class expands the global competency of the student, on both sides, basically because it’s a part of the world that we don’t hear enough about,” she said.
International education opens the world.
“In the long run, our graduates will have that cultural sensitivity that will be important for them to be successful in the world,” Strickland said.
International education is part of what’s happening at the University of Houston. I’m Marisa Ramirez.
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