Lynchburg College students have a new connection to the global community.
The College recently formed a partnership with Universidad Autonoma Benito Juarez de Oaxaca (UABJO), a public university in Oaxaca de Juárez, Mexico.
Several representatives from UABJO visited Lynchburg Monday and Tuesday to talk with faculty, staff, and students about various ways the schools can collaborate. Lynchburg students will have additional study abroad opportunities, while OABJO students will come to Lynchburg. Faculty exchanges are foreseen, too.
To kickstart the partnership, UABJO plans to send two students to Lynchburg in April, according to Fernando Martinez Sanchez, UABJO’s coordinator of the Department of Spanish for International Students. The students will spend several weeks participating in a variety of experiential learning activities related to their studies.
The UABJO partnership began with Dr. Tammy Hertel, a professor of Spanish at Lynchburg, who formerly taught with Martinez at another institution. Martinez and one other UABJO official visited Lynchburg in 2014 and provided a scholarship that allowed two Lynchburg students to study at UABJO for four weeks. In 2017, Dr. Hertel visited UABJO with Dr. Nichole Sanders, a history professor who specializes in the history of Mexico, to discuss a more formal partnership.
“Oaxaca is an ideal study abroad site for a number of reasons,” Dr. Hertel said. “In addition to the excellent Spanish courses, students can take courses on the main campus with Mexican students if their Spanish is advanced, and it’s a large university with many class options.” The city offers a variety of opportunities to learn about and experience Mexican culture, including archaeological sites, indigenous communities, artisan centers, markets, and performing arts, she added.
Lynchburg now has more than 12 partnerships with universities around the world to facilitate opportunities for study abroad, student and faculty exchanges, and other programs.
“Partnerships like this are key to helping us develop a more global experience for our students, which is an important part of Vision 2020, our strategic plan,” Dr. Sally Selden, vice president and dean for academic affairs, said. “As students meet people from other cultures, both on our campus and abroad, they become more prepared to live and work in a diverse society and develop a more holistic view of the world around them.”