News that the University of Houston has been ranked 17th among U.S. colleges for its international student population by the Chronicle of Higher Education validates the university’s leadership as a global educational institution, said President Renu Khator at a campus event celebrating International Education Week and the 10th anniversary of the UH chapter of Phi Beta Delta, the Honor Society for International Scholars.
“International students comprise close to 9 percent of our population. I want us to at least double that in the next four or five years, to have an even stronger global presence, and add another layer of leadership to what we do,” Khator said.
Khator praised the importance of two outstanding faculty-led Study Abroad programs – Study Abroad in India, led by Dr. Saleha Khumawala of the C. T. Bauer College of Business, and Study Abroad in Turkey, led by Dr. W. Andrew Achenbaum of the Graduate College of Social Work. Each program was honored at the gathering.
“I really wish I could send every single university student abroad. It transforms a person; it changes the paradigm. It changes their minds in unique ways,” Khator said. “The next best thing is to give them (UH students) global exposure right here on this campus. So you, as international students, are helping to prepare our students for citizenship in this global society.”
Students from Dr. Saleha Khumawala’s Study Abroad in India program spoke at the event about the transformative nature of their immersion into India’s business and culture.
Henry Wallace, who is majoring in Entrepreneurship and Marketing at Bauer, said the trip to India was “life-changing in experiencing firsthand the culture, economy and way of life. India will be a major player in the global economic environment in the years to come, and seeing that transformation was inspiring. In order to take full advantage of the global economy that the world is quick becoming, it is vital to experience those countries directly if possible.”
Recent graduate Agata Bielicki (’07), who now works for GulfStar Group, went to India with Professor Khumawala and other students in 2006. “I waited and worked hard for two years to be able to join the Study Abroad India group,” said Bielicki, who graduated with a Finance degree. “On my return flight home I knew that I had gleaned a wealth of knowledge that couldn’t be found in any book or news program. The understanding, the knowledge, and the expanded world view that results from traveling not only prepare students to be able to compete in the global economy, but also to become leaders with the ability to shape the world’s future in a positive direction.”
Bielicki also praised the diversity of UH, which with students from nearly 70 countries, is culturally rich.
“One of the greatest assets of the University of Houston, especially the Bauer College of Business, is its diverse student body. In any lecture room one can see at least 10 different countries represented at any given time. Education is not just found in our courses and textbooks, but in the interactions of all of us from various backgrounds working on a project, engaged in class discussion or better yet, hanging out as friends on the weekends. We are exposed to different points of views spanning many countries, cultures and religions, and that exposure becomes an irreplaceable education in an ever increasing global economy.”
National leadership for international students is also a UH strength. Anita Gaines, director of the International Students & Scholar Service Office and Phi Beta Delta chapter coordinator at UH, is national Senior Vice President of Phi Beta Delta. Guillermo de los Reyes, assistant professor of Latin American studies, is national Director of Membership, as well as President-Elect of the UH chapter. Brent Spraggins, assistant director of prebusiness and special programs at Bauer, is the current chapter president.
By Julie Bonnin
About the University of Houston
The University of Houston, Texas’ premier metropolitan research and teaching institution, is home to more than 40 research centers and institutes and sponsors more than 300 partnerships with corporate, civic and governmental entities. UH, the most diverse research university in the country, stands at the forefront of education, research and service with more than 35,000 students.
About the Bauer College of Business
The C.T. Bauer College of Business has been in operation for more than 60 years at the University of Houston main campus. Through its five academic departments, the college offers a full-range of undergraduate, masters and doctoral degrees in business. The Bauer College is fully accredited by the AACSB International – the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. In August 2000, Houston business leader and philanthropist Charles T. (Ted) Bauer endowed the College of Business with a $40 million gift. In recognition of his generosity, the college was renamed the C.T. Bauer College of Business.