LUestablishes international partnership with university in Mexico
Lamar University has finalized a new international partnership in Mexico with the Universidad Veracruzana. The agreement will allow for the exchange of students on semester programs and will also encourage collaborative academic and research programs between faculty members.
Universidad Veracruzana (UV), one of the largest public universities in Mexico, offers graduate and undergraduate degree programs to more than 70,000 students in a wide variety of disciplines. The main campus is in the colonial city of Xalapa, the state capital of Veracruz.
Lamar University and Universidad Veracruzana began working together in 2014 when they were awarded grant funding through the 100,000 Strong in the Americas initiative, resulting in a bilateral summer study abroad program focusing on health and nutrition.
Professor Rick Carter and associate professor Israel Msengi from the Department of Health and Kinesiology led a group of student researchers to Xalapa in 2015 and 2016 to explore causes and preventions of obesity in communities in Veracruz.
“This partnership gives LU students and their families an opportunity to learn first-hand what Mexico is all about, aside from the political headlines typically depicted in the U.S. Our students are engaged with learning, problem solving and establishing life-long relationships with their Mexican peers,” Carter said.
LU student Christa Vera, a nutrition and dietetics major from Groves who participated in the 2015 program, said her time abroad gave her incomparable opportunities to learn.
“The best part of the trip was submerging yourself into a different culture completely. We got to stay with a host family and we were paired up with a UV student who became my host while on city outings. I was able to earn course credit in my field while also learning so much about the Mexican culture,” said Vera.
LU faculty is also encouraged to participate in the new partnership. Carter, who lectured on the UV campus during the study abroad sessions, found the interactions “enlightening, educational, and founded in addressable issues needing resolutions and action.”
Carter feels that the new program offers students a unique opportunity to become involved in educational efforts across borders.
“Being that Mexico shares a common border with Texas and the U.S., our understanding of Mexico and its people is extremely important in creating an opportunity to share and learn from one another and to build relationships that will span time,” Carter said.
Lamar University hosted a delegation of Universidad Veracruzana students and faculty to conduct research in 2015 and will continue to host UV students and faculty on both short-term and semester exchange programs. The next UV exchange students will arrive on campus in January 2017.