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Australian University Added To FMU Exchange Program

FLORENCE---Francis Marion University students now have the option of studying in several other areas of the world through a growing international study abroad program. To date, FMU has signed exchange agreements with six foreign universities. 

The latest of those agreements is with the University of the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, Australia, to become effective in January 2002.  This agreement enables up to two students from each institution to participate in an exchange on the other campus in each calendar year.

The University of the Sunshine Coast is Queensland’s seventh public university and is located at the heart of one of Australia’s fastest growing regions.  A campus of about 3,000 students, USC has a broad range of undergraduate degrees in the arts, business and the sciences.

FMU also has developed study abroad agreements with the University of Basel in Switzerland, the University of Trier in Germany, the Ludwigshafen Business School in Germany, the Universidad Internacional in Cuernavaca, Mexico, and Christ Church College of Education in New Zealand.  The university is exploring further exchange agreements with schools in England (Simon de Montfort University) and France (the University of Dijon).

Like all the agreements, the pact with the University of the Sunshine Coast permits student and faculty exchanges.  The exchanges can be for one or two semesters.  Students must be in good academic standing at their home institution at the time they enter the exchange program.  Students must also have comprehensive health coverage before studying abroad.     

The exchange agreements enable FMU students to study abroad and pay tuition and required fees at FMU. Foreign students pay fees on their home campus.  The only other costs are for transportation to the host country and for room and board.  The same is true for foreign students coming to study at FMU. 

Course credits taken at the foreign university are transferable back to FMU and will count toward graduation.  Foreign students taking classes at FMU can transfer the credits back to their home institution.

"Under the leadership of President Fred Carter, Francis Marion University has made great progress in developing international exchange programs with foreign universities,” said Provost Richard Chapman.

"Study abroad opportunities are important to students in all of our majors, allowing them to experience another culture to gain a greater appreciation for living in a global society,” said Chapman.  “Economic globalization and internationalization of enterprise are realities, because we live in a state that has attracted substantial foreign investment.  At FMU, we want to make sure that our students have the opportunity to become familiar with the international environment in which business must operate."

To date several students have taken advantage of exchange programs.  Two FMU students, Joey Sorrow of Summerville and Josh Powers of Georgetown spent the spring semester at the University of Trier in Germany.

Taking his first trip outside the United States, Sorrow describes the experience as “the greatest thing I’ve done in my life.”  A junior marketing major, Sorrow went to Germany without knowing how to speak the language.  In a few short months, he learned the language well enough to carry on a conversation.  As a result, he has decided to minor in German at FMU. 

Sorrow said he met several exchange students from other countries while in Germany.  “This experience taught me so much about how people from other countries view things,” he said.  “It helped me grow as a person, and I would definitely recommend an exchange program to other FMU students.”

Ben Kyer, a FMU economics professor, is spending the fall semester at the Ludwigshafen Business School in Germany. At the same time, a German exchange professor is also spending this semester teaching at FMU.  She is Gabi Theuner, a marketing professor from Ludwigshafen, who is in America for the first time.  She describes her first few weeks at FMU as “a wonderful experience thus far.”  

Theuner’s  objective was to gain experience teaching at an American university and to teach her classes in English.  While she’s here, she hopes to recruit some FMU students to study at her home university. 

Theuner says marketing classes at FMU are oriented with more practical examples than those in Germany, which are based more on theory.  Another major difference is that American students study from one book at a time.  She’s also intrigued that so many FMU students live on campus, something that the 2,000 students at Ludwigshafen don’t have the opportunity to do.  The German students either live at home or live in apartments near the school.

For more information about study abroad programs offered at FMU, contact John A. Britton, coordinator of international studies, at 661-1552.

#48 / 10-18-01

Last Published: May 13, 2004 9:09 AM
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