-- Relationships Developed During Recent Study Tour to India Will Help Advance College’s Commitment to Global Education --
FLUSHING, N.Y., March 12, 2012 – For Helen Gaudette, director of Queens College’s recently created Office of Global Education Initiatives, visiting three cities and over 15 schools and organizations in India in just six days was a whirlwind trip, but “the doors it opened to potential international academic relationships were worth the loss of sleep.”
The study tour from January 29 – February 3 to Mumbai, Hyderabad, and New Delhi was an integral part of a year-long training initiative by the International Academic Partnership Program (IAPP) to increase academic alliances between colleges in the U.S. and India. QC was one of 11 colleges and universities in the U.S. chosen for this initiative by the nonprofit Institute of International Education (IIE), which runs the IAPP. Other schools in the cohort included Rutgers, University of Kentucky, University of Oregon and George Mason.
According to the IIE, QC was selected because of its commitment to global education, as exemplified by its ongoing cultural and academic programming that focuses on a different nation each year. This fall the college will kick off the Year of India—an in-depth exploration of that country’s history, society, and economy, as well as its art, literature, music and film. QC launched this program in September 2010 with the Year of China. This academic year, Turkey is the focus.
“Developing international partnerships can be very complex, and IIE’s expertise in these initiatives proved invaluable,” says Gaudette. “Not only did they help us create an effective strategic plan and identify appropriate prospective partners in India, but they connected us with other American colleges with whom we could collaborate, share ideas and develop joint programs.”
Gaudette points out that these partnerships will also help QC globalize its curriculum and faculty research, and create, expand or support such programs as faculty-led study abroad courses, student and faculty exchanges, and seminars. Dr. Indu Shahani, the principal of H.R. College of Commerce & Economics in Mumbai, one of the host colleges on the study tour, recently visited QC and will be working with the college on various projects related to the Year of India. (QC President James Muyskens led a college delegation to India from February 4 – 13 to help solidify partnerships for the Year of India.) QC has also been assigned a mentor from the IAPP advisory board who will review the college’s strategic plan and guide it on managing and sustaining its Indo-U.S. relationships.
In January 2011, Gaudette led a 28-day trip to India with 13 students from Queens College, City College of New York, Baruch and York Colleges.
Maritza Carmona, a political science major with a concentration in international politics who will be graduating from QC this May, was one of those students. Carmona, who lives in Glendale with her Colombian parents, describes her experiences in India as “life-changing.”
“The education went beyond the classroom and textbooks,” she says. “I not only learned about India, but I got to live it in a unique, personal way. Traveling through cities and villages in the footsteps of Mahatma Gandhi and Muhammad Ali Jinnah, I gained a new, richer perspective of the contrasts between new and old that co-exist in this country, but are now on a larger, more global scale.”
For Geeta Sanehi, who is studying for her master’s in special education at QC and lives with her Guyanese parents in Hollis, the trip to India “fulfilled her grandfather’s dream.”
“My great-grandfather was from India,” says Sanehi. “It was an empowering experience for me…simultaneously sad and beautiful…to witness how joyful and welcoming the people were in spite of their poverty. I definitely plan to go back.”
According to Open Doors, a report published annually by IIE in partnership with the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the U.S. Department of State, Indian students represent slightly more than 14 percent of the total international student population in the United States, and India is the second highest-sending country after China. Nearly 104,000 international students from India studied in the United States from 2010-11. The number of students from the United States studying abroad in India from 2009-10 increased more than 44 percent from the previous year, with more than 3,800 students from U.S. colleges and universities receiving academic credit for study abroad in India. Approximately 570 out of 16,559 undergraduates at QC cite India as their country of origin.
Queens College, located on a beautiful 77-acre campus in Flushing, New York, opened its doors in 1937 with the goal of offering a first-rate education to talented people of all backgrounds and financial means. Part of the City University of New York (CUNY) since its founding in 1961, Queens College is one of CUNY’s largest senior colleges. It enjoys a national reputation for its liberal arts and sciences and professional programs, and was cited in the 2012 edition of The Princeton Review’s The Best 376 Colleges for its academic excellence and generous financial aid packages. Over 120,000 students have graduated since the college’s first class of 1941. Our alumni include such household names as Paul Simon and Jerry Seinfeld, as well as the CEOs of major companies and leaders in the fields of medicine, education, media, the law, and politics.
The Institute of International Education (www.iie.org) is a world leader in the international exchange of people and ideas. An independent, nonprofit organization founded in 1919, IIE has a network of over 20 offices worldwide and over 1,000 member institutions. IIE designs and implements programs of study and training for students, educators, young professionals and trainees from all sectors with funding from government agencies, foundations, and corporations. IIE also conducts policy research and program evaluations, and provides advising and counseling on international education and opportunities abroad.