FLORENCE, S.C. – Officials from Francis Marion University and the Schmalkalden University of Applied Sciences in Germany signed a student exchange agreement Sept. 29.
The agreement was signed by FMU president Fred Carter and Schmalkalden president Juergen Mueller after a reception and dinner.
The delegation visiting from Germany included Mueller and his wife, Gisela; director of the international office Joachim Bach; and professor of economics Peter Schuster.
Schmalkalden is in the German state of Thuringia, with which South Carolina has a sister-state relationship. This will expand Francis Marion University’s German exchange program from the University of Trier in the west to the former East Germany.
“This will add an important dimension to the worldwide exchange program that Francis Marion offers its students,” said FMU history professor Duane P. Myers. He and fellow history professor Larry Nelson visited Schmalkalden in January to work out the details of the exchange, following an earlier visit by Carter, provost Richard Chapman, and board of trustees member Ken Jackson.
The exchange, which will begin in 2004, provides for the possibility of each university sending two students to the other school each year and may be expanded in the future. Schmalkalden expects students to arrive with some basic knowledge of German, but will help them expand their ability to use German and provide them with insight into German culture. Increasing numbers of business and economics courses at Schmalkalden are taught in English.
“This will provide our students with wonderful opportunities,” said Myers. “Not only will they be able to live and study in another culture, but they will have the opportunity to get to know students from around the world who study in Schmalkalden, especially those from eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. Thuringia is an historically and culturally rich area and its central location makes exploration of Germany and other parts of central Europe possible.”
FMU also has student exchange programs with universities in New Zealand, Australia, Mexico, England and France.
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