International education can take the form of studying abroad or moving to America and the University of Houston. The hospitality industry embraces its international reach, as does the UH Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management.
“Travel and tourism is the world’s largest industry by its very nature we need to collaborate worldwide,” said the college’s Lydia Westbrook, lecturer and director of international and external programs. “Students learn early on that we all have to get along, that it’s a global marketplace, that our customers, or coworkers, our employees could be coming from any number of countries and speak any number of languages.”
An innovative tourism class last year was a real-life illustration of that philosophy as students from Bethlehem University and UH came together by way of videoconference to study, compare and contrast the tourism industry in their respective countries. In spring 2012, that international class grows by one continent.
“Because of Hilton College’s new partnership with Universidad San Ignacio de Loyola in Lima, Peru, we have a unique opportunity to bring Peruvian students into the classroom,” Westbrook said.
Last year’s students commented that they learned much from their Bethlehem University classmates—about their country, their lives, their goals. Many are still connected through social media outlets. Some have planned to visit each other.
Now students from Peru join those from the Holy Land and Houston to discuss the economic, environmental, social, cultural and political impact of travel. They’ll connect in class and in social media—and discover their shared beliefs.
Conrad N. Hilton, whose name graces the UH college, once said “world peace through international trade and travel.” Westbrook, and her international co-instructors, are at the helm.
“It’s just very touching and deeply satisfying because I feel like we really can make a difference and open up some new things. And that’s what education is about.”
International education is part of what’s happening at the University of Houston. I’m Marisa Ramirez.
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