Northwestern State University and the University of Alicante (Universidad de Alicante) in Spain signed an exchange agreement Monday that will facilitate student and faculty exchanges, research collaboration and dual enrollment opportunities for students majoring in business and business administration.
Faculty in Northwestern State’s School of Business worked with their counterparts at Alicante to establish the agreement for academic cooperation for students interested in a dual degree program in which the host university can award a bachelor’s degree based on specified course requirements. Students in the dual degree program must follow the study program set in the agreement to be awarded with both degrees.
Administrators say international study allows students to participate in research programs, cultural activities and language immersion that contribute to personal enrichment and studying business abroad provides a more global perspective on business and economics.
“This agreement is a wonderful opportunity for students, faculty and staff at both institutions,” said Dr. Begona Perez-Mira, who was instrumental in facilitating the agreement. “In a job market where internationalization is essential, this agreement provides enhanced cultural experiences, key global competencies and collaborations that will increase the already well-rounded education that our students receive.”
The exchange opportunity is open to junior level students with a 2.5 cumulative grade point average and a conversational level of Spanish language skills based on personal interview.
Perez-Mira is a professor of Computer Information Systems in NSU’s School of Business and native to a small town near Alicante, Spain. Located on Spain’s southeastern Mediterranean coast, the University of Alicante has an enrollment of over 25,000 students. Almost all classes are taught in Spanish although some are in English, in particular, in computer science and business degrees.
The number of international students at Northwestern State had grown significantly in recent years as the university pursued agreements with institutions outside the U.S., coordinated international study projects abroad and earlier this year opened the International Student Resource Center. Beginning in the Spring 2017, the first cohort of students from the Universidad Veracruzana, Mexico, will arrive in Natchitoches to study under a dual enrollment agreement similar to the one signed with Alicante.
“Support of our international students will continue to grow at NSU,” said Dr. Chris Maggio, who in January will assume office as acting president of NSU. “Our goal is to offer more students the opportunity to study abroad and provide the best possible experience for international students for enhanced global awareness, academics, leadership and personal growth.”