Under today’s global landscape, education exchange has become an essential way to share cultures and facilitate collaboration among countries; it builds a bridge for cultural exchanges. To create more educational cooperation opportunities between the United States and Argentina, in February, Meridian International Center implemented an “Argentina Higher Educators Exchange Program” funded by the U.S. Embassy in Buenos Aires in Argentina. The Embassy invited nine Argentine higher educational representatives to take part in the program, including officials from the International Relation Offices of eight public and private universities and the Secretary of University Policy of the Argentine Ministry of Education.
This 10-day program started on February 22nd with a short program opening and a reception held by the Embassy of Argentina to welcome the delegation. At the reception, representatives from U.S. federal government, educational organizations and associations, and colleagues from universities in the Washington DC area were invited to attend. The program included meetings with various state and federal agencies, national organizations and university associations, and visits to universities, colleges and other institutions of higher learning in Washington DC, New Mexico and Texas. The delegation had an opportunity to get better acquainted with the U.S. educational system and the roles and functions of different U.S. agencies. They also explored opportunities for future linkages between American and Argentine universities which would strengthened educational cooperation between the two countries.
As a marketing and communications intern in the GlobalConnect Division at Meridian, I had the honor to be engaged with the program and to observe first-hand the impressive work Meridian and U.S. Embassy are doing to build bridges and create international exchange opportunities. As an international student who has studied abroad for four years, I gained a lot of benefits from different educational systems and cultures. At the beginning, I was shocked by the differences between the educational systems of China and the United States, but now I appreciate the global network and exchange opportunities which allow students and educators to exchange their educational cultures and be exposed and acquire different values and ideas. Education exchange broadens students and educators’ viewpoints, promotes mutual progress, and strengthens cooperation.
Below are some thoughts from the Argentine delegation representatives:
“The Argentina Educator Exchange Program exceeded my expectations! I believe the whole trip in the US addressed many issues that may boost our leadership as educators in Argentina and world-wide.
I’ve grown both, professional and personally during the program and it makes me go through some big challenges once back home.
Every people we’ve met has been amazingly nice to us. I’m grateful with the opportunity given to the University I represent and to myself as well.”
Maria Paula Awe Luca
Head of International Relations Office, Universidad Nacional de Río Negro
“This program was really useful to learn more about the US education system and US culture, as well. We shared opinions about internalization with colleagues and started building new relationships, in order to face new challenges and achieve goals in research and exchange. I am sure that this mission will help to strengthen the collaboration between both countries and increase the development of internationalization of Argentinean higher education institutions. It was a great experience! “
Executive Director, International Relations Office, Universidad Nacional de La Plata
“The program was perfectly arranged. All the meetings were very interesting and included different topics. This helped us to have a global vision about higher education system in the US as well as the different universities visited. Along the program we could start relationships with partners in internationalization matters and also we could meet teachers and researchers so as to put them in contact with ours at home. I can also say that all the facilitators did a perfect work, specially Damon Woods and Jim, the chofer at Santa Fe. Same words for the hotels.”
María Luisa Gutiérrez Peart
Head of International Cooperation Office, Universidad Católica de Santa Fe
“As part of the 100,000 Strong outreach of the U.S. Embassy in Argentina, PAS Buenos Aires planned to organize a mission of Argentine Universities to the United States. The group included international cooperation leaders of public and private universities from different provinces of Argentina and the idea was to seek a better understanding of the U.S. system, as well as create new connections between Higher Education Institutions in the U.S. and Argentina. After 10 days in Washington DC, New Mexico and Texas, I can say that the goal was achieved and we expect new connections to come between both countries.”
Cultural Specialist, U.S. Embassy in Buenos Aires, Argentina
“I’ve been working with US students for more than 15 years, but I learned a lot about the US Higher Education System and its institutions during this program. It was very well organized and we felt very comfortable although it was very intensive, we could take advantage of every single day and every meeting. There was always people taking care of us so we didn’t have to worry about anything and just focus on the meetings. I am very grateful and happy for have participated in the Argentina Higher Educators Exchange Program.”
Assistant Director, International Education Office, Universidad Nacional de Tres de Febrero
“My institution and I have been very lucky to have been selected to participate in this program. It is the first time that the US Embassy in Buenos Aires together with the US Department of State and Meridian organize such an activity for Argentine universities. During the trip, I had the opportunity to get an overview of the higher education system in the US and reflect deeply on the differences and similarities with the Argentine system. It´s interesting to see how US and Argentine higher education institutions share some main issues such as student retention rate. As member of a public university in Argentina, the difference in infrastructure and resources was amazing.”
Laura A. Benedetti
Deputy Secretary for International Relations, Universidad Nacional del Sur
“This mission, organized by the US Embassy of Argentina and with US Department of State funding was an outstanding opportunity to further learn about the US higher education system. It included a brilliantly planned and broad program which allowed its participants to obtain in-depth information about accreditation, funding and collaboration possibilities, as well as the types of constituents that each type of US higher education institution serves.
I consider myself to be very fortunate for having been chosen to participate in this mission, which not only broadened my knowledge but also provided a fantastic opportunity to network with many colleagues from research universities, community colleges, tribal colleges, HBCUs and professional education associations.”
Director of International Programs, Universidad Torcuato Di Tella