Though it’s a small upper-division school, the University of Houston-Victoria is gaining an international presence in countries like China, Mexico, Taiwan and Spain.
UHV announced a new partnership this week that will bring as many as 50 students from China to Victoria, a small Texas town of about 70,000 residents, to study computer information systems. The initiative builds on a program in the School of Business Administration that brought 18 Chinese students to Cinco Ranch this semester, and three students and one professor to Sugar Land in spring of 2007.
“China is just one of the countries in which UHV has a presence, but it is a great example of how we are building strong international relationships and establishing a reputation for excellence around the globe,” UHV President Tim Hudson said.
Hudson has made trips to China the last two years with other UHV officials to build such relationships.
The diversity of the UHV faculty helps start the process, Hudson said. For example, Jifu Wang, dean of the School of Business Administration and a native of China, has been a huge asset in the efforts to develop Chinese partnerships. UHV has faculty and staff members from countries including Belarus, Canada, China, El Salvador, Jordan, India, Korea, Mexico and Taiwan.
“I’ve been organizing the logistics,” Wang said. “It’s not easy to travel to as many places in China as we did.” On the most recent visit, the UHV contingent met with officials from 10 universities in five cities during 11 days.
Wang said he used contacts from School of Arts & Sciences faculty members, who also are natives of China, to help plan the trip and make connections in China.
“In the Chinese market, relationships are very significant,” Wang said.
Wang acted as a translator and chief salesman of the programs to faculty and students during the 2007 and 2008 visits.
“How much do you think you’re worth?” Wang would ask the gathered crowds. Students who return to China with a foreign education are worth double in terms of salaries in the workforce, he said.
The biggest challenge was convincing students to choose the United States over other destinations like the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia, where visa and entry requirements are much more favorable to students, Wang said.
Wang told the students that the U.S. is less expensive, a better return on investment and the programs teach things that succeed in the Chinese market. Many other countries teach theory, while the U.S. teaches more hands-on skills.
“After they study in the U.S., they can go to work immediately when they return to China,” Wang said.
In 2007, UHV reached agreements with seven universities. This year, they added four more relationships and started conversations with another five during an Oct. 23 to Nov. 3 trip, Wang said.
“Without the hard work of Dr. Wang, I don’t know if these agreements would have happened so quickly,” Hudson said. “His efforts are a wonderful example of how, through the talent and dedication of our faculty and staff, we are developing an international presence for UHV.”
Such relationships are vital for offering a truly modern education for students, he said.
“With our increasingly global society and economy, students need to have some kind of international experience to receive a useful, valid and complete education,” Hudson said.
That’s why UHV provides faculty, students and community members with many opportunities to travel abroad, he said.
“Through our study abroad programs, we send people to partner universities in places like Mexico, Guatemala, Spain and London to study for as little as one week or as long as a full semester,” Director of International Programs Vic Padelford said. “They return with a broadened perspective of the world and greatly enhanced language skills, too.”
In the future, faculty and staff will be able to travel to China, a proposition that is more affordable than most imagine, Wang noted.
UHV is exploring additional international relationships with schools in Dubai, Egypt, France, India and Vietnam, Hudson said.
“We can never develop ‘too many’ opportunities to expose our students to the richness and vast diversity of the people of this world,” said Hudson, who has initiated more than 40 study abroad programs during his academic career. “We owe it to our students and our society to create globally aware leaders.”
For more information about international opportunities, contact Padelford at 361-570-4186 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information about enrolling or registering at UHV, contact Student Solutions at 361-573-0000 or 1-800-687-3738.