By Tyson Kauer
Dixie State University has added global partnerships with Gakushuin Univeristy in Tokyo, Japan; Zhengzhou University in Zhengzhou, China; and Universidad San Francisco de Quito in Quito, Ecuador, to its list of global partners in the hope of resuming the study abroad program in 2022.
Global Education Director Michael Cartmill explained that these agreements are important for DSU students and faculty because these global partner universities allow participants to complete their desired degree coursework while also learning more about another culture, social structure and language. These formal agreements offer more than just an opportunity for students to spend some time in another country, Cartmill said.
Cartmill said the study abroad program includes summer, affiliate and exchange programs, and the global partnership agreements are in place for five years. He said one main benefit of these global partnerships is that they make travel easier for participants.
Cartmill said these opportunities fundamentally change the participants and set students apart from their peers when they apply for employment after graduation.
These locations offer new cultural and social experiences and allow students and faculty to actively put their knowledge to work in real-world situations, which Cartmill said are all things that employers look for.
Cartmill said these partnerships also allow for students and faculty from these global partner universities to work and study at DSU, enriching their life and the DSU campus.
The opportunity for DSU to host students from Japan, China, South Korea, Australia, Mexico, Colombia, Peru, Costa Rica, Cuba and other countries helps DSU students and programs grow in new and exciting ways.
Jenny Callahan, study abroad program coordinator, said, “These agreements can be one-way or two-way agreements… they are open to faculty members also.”
Callahan also said COVID-19 caused the study abroad program to cancel trips for 2020 and 2021, but she is hopeful they will be able to resume in 2022.
Although global travel restrictions mean that DSU will not be able to send anyone in 2021, Callahan said she is excited for 2022 and has already begun work on getting trips laid out for next year.
Callahan expressed concern that the 2020 and 2021 cancellations may have a long-term impact on students.
“It is a shame because a lot of these students have been wanting to go and now they will not be able to do so during their undergraduate studies,” Callahan said.
DSU maintains approximately 12 global partnerships at any given point in time. Because of the amount of time, energy and money that is required for the university to maintain these relationships, there is a balance of resources that must be maintained. Establishing these partnerships is a long process, taking six months to a year to formalize a memorandum of understanding.