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Study Abroad Office

International Perspectives on Higher Education (IPHE) takes on Colombia in 2019

The Study Abroad Office (SAO) and Global Carolina are pleased to announce the seventh year of the IPHE program. The program seeks to contribute to the University of South Carolina’s (UofSC) study abroad mission by giving faculty and staff the opportunity to be a part of the international program development process. With employers placing more emphasis on international education and experience, the goal of the program is to increase the knowledge of the SAO process for UofSC faculty and staff and prepare them to lead global classroom experiences. This year’s journey was to Colombia, South America.

 “IPHE is one of our most successful programs for helping both faculty and staff understand the importance of international education,” Allen Miller, Ph.D., Vice Provost and Director of Global Carolina, said. “Each year a select group of professionals goes to a chosen destination, engages in serious and meaningful discussions before, during, and after the trip before implementing a concrete plan of action to serve our students better, both when domestic student go abroad and when international students come here.  IPHE has helped establish the UofSC as a national leader in international education and in learning beyond the classroom.”

 “Colombia is a nation trying to remake itself in a post-conflict economy,” Candace Cunningham, Ph.D., a participant from the TRIO program, said. “In Medellin, this rebirth is being partially defined by a youth-led cultural shift. As a student of the African American civil rights movement, I find this particularly hopeful. Youth-led social changes have the power to be transformative.”

 The IPHE program to Colombia was led by SAO’s Assistant Director of Global Collaborations, Bill Pruitt, Ph.D., and David Cardenas, Ph.D., who served as this year’s program assistant. The university strives to continue to create opportunities for learning and research for its faculty, staff and students and encourages participation from its international partnering universities. “The annual IPHE program allows for the Study Abroad Office to strategically interact with UofSC participating faculty and staff. Through in-country experiences, participants identify opportunities for education abroad expansion specific to their discipline or department,” states Magdalena Grudzinski-Hall, Ph.D., Director of the Study Abroad Office. “To date, our assessment of the IPHE program showed that 87% of surveyed program participants completed follow up projects that contribute to UofSC’s internationalization efforts.”

 This year there were 12 participants from UofSC who toured four different universities in the cities of Bogota, Medellin and Cartagena. Universidad de Los Andes, Universidad Externado de Colombia, Universidad de a Sabana and Universidad de Antioqua were the universities that were included.

“We were exposed to the higher educational process in Colombia and explored additional collaboration opportunities with our academic partners,” Cardenas said. “During our experience, we had thoughtful debates and conversations about the importance of international education and discussed how to make study abroad experiences more sustainable.”

 Several participants had different perspectives of their experiences in Colombia according to their blogs; some based on their areas of study.

 “ The diversity of this year’s group was exciting,” Pruitt said. “We had representation from several different colleges, and participants from all walks of life. One of the values of the IPHE experience is the environment that it creates for bonding among the group of participants. This comradery contributes to navigating the “silo culture” of major research institutions, allowing for collaborations across disciplines once we return to UofSC.”

 Visit the 2019 IPHE blog and follow the cohorts as they share their experiences from their journey to Colombia.


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