Opportunities for students on both sides of the border

Northern Arizona University President Dr. Rita Cheng recently led a delegation to the Center for Technical and Higher Education University in Mexico.

The universities are continuously building a relationship in an effort to provide students with educational and cultural opportunities.

“Short-term student groups will come up here for a week of intensive business study and lectures and visit the local businesses. And, our students have been traditionally going down there to CETYS over the spring break, our spring break,” Daniel Palm, associate vice president for global initiatives and executive director for the Center for International Education at NAU, said.

The Center for Technical and Higher Education University [CETYS] is located in Mexicali, Mexico and focuses on engineering, business and the social sciences.

The partnership between NAU and CETYS began about three years when President Cheng and an NAU delegation attended an innovation symposium at CETYS.

Palm explained that both schools saw opportunities to collaborate and have students from CETYS and NAU benefit from an educational and cultural experience at the partner school.  

“[The students] visit the local manufacturing kind of businesses there and also kind of learn from professors who have the people-to-people [interactions] and also the educational interactions,” Palm said.

Weaving in cultural exposure with educational activities can help create a well-rounded student who is more prepared to enter the workforce.  

“What we’re looking to do with students is really educate the whole student. So, looking at how we can provide them with the skills necessary to succeed in this day in age,” Palm said. “And, one of those we firmly believe is the intercultural competency.”

Palm explained that the main focus is helping the students understand different cultures, how businesses operate in other areas and how people with other cultural backgrounds function in a business setting.

“Having our students go down to CETYS to have an experience there or having their students come up here is really fundamental to NAU educating a student and giving them every opportunity to engage not only nationally but globally in ways that prepare them for the future that they want to have,” Palm explained.

The educational and culturally enriching experience is also designed to be budget-friendly.

“One of the really great things about the partnership and the opportunities we have with CETYS is its proximity to Arizona obviously and the ability for it to be a really cost effective and impactful trip for our students and for their students,” Palm said.

He added, “[It] can allow for all the students, or as many students as possible, the opportunity to study abroad- even those students who can’t afford a 3,000 to 5,000-dollar trip to somewhere in the world for a few weeks.”

In addition to strengthening the education of students at NAU and CETYS, programs and partnerships such as this help build a relationship between Arizona and Mexico.

“NAU is a critical partner within the [Arizona-Mexico Commission], which is chaired by the governor, and it’s something that we take seriously- not just the opportunities for students and faculty, but also for the larger opportunity between Arizona and Mexico and how we can add to that,” Palm said.

NAU and CETYS currently send students to the partner school for about one week at a time so they can visit local businesses and attend lectures from professors.

As the relationship grows, Palm explained the schools hope to send and host students for semester-long and year-long interactions so they can take classes and really immerse themselves in the culture.

“This would be more of a semester-based or year-based interaction where students would actually come to campus and take classes and study,” Palm said. “And, students from our Yuma campus would go to CETYS and study for an entire semester, gaining CETYS credit and transferring back to NAU.”

Sierra Ciaramella

Add comment

Subscribe to the Dry Heat

Get updates on the most important news delivered right to your email. Fully personalized options. No SPAM. Unsubscribe anytime.

Sign Me Up!

Let’s Get Social

Chamber Business News wants to connect with you. Follow us, tweet, share, post, comment... however you get social is the perfect way to connect.