Bluefield College students will soon be gaining a greater understanding of the culture, history, language and customs of the country of Thailand, thanks to the development of a new international exchange program between BC and Mahidol University.
As part of the school’s mission to prepare innovative learners and transformational leaders, who are compassionate, globally-minded citizens, Bluefield College leaders traveled to Bangkok, Thailand recently to sign the exchange agreement with Mahidol. Under the new partnership, BC will send students to Thailand each spring and Mahidol will send students to Bluefield each fall for academic and cultural exchange.
“We are thrilled to have this agreement with one of the leading institutions of higher learning in Thailand,” said BC’s Dr. Robert Shippey, vice president for academic affairs. “We look forward to the opportunity for our students to engage in learning and understanding, not only at Mahidol, but throughout southeast Asia, including Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam and Myanmar.”
Designed to encourage closer ties between the two countries and its peoples and to establish programs of exchange and collaboration between the two schools, the BC-Mahidol agreement calls for cooperation in the fields of education, teaching, research, and student and staff study exchange.
Students participating in the global education effort will tour historical cities and sites inside the host country, including museums and exhibits. They will attend conferences, conduct research, and engage in service-learning projects in the local communities. In addition, they will experience native food and fellowship. Most importantly, they will study and learn alongside Thai students at Mahidol University.
“It’s a great way to experience the culture and history of another country,” said Dr. Gerardo Cummings, director of BC’s Global Education Program, “and a great way to understand one another and to share experiences of what life is like in our countries. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity for our students.”
The Mahidol partnership is the second international exchange agreement crafted by the college in the past two years. BC began a similar academic exchange with the Jiangsu Second Normal University in Nanjing, China in 2009. Under that agreement, Bluefield students visit China in the spring of each year, while Jiangsu Second Normal University students study at BC every fall.
“Bluefield college is committed to a program of global education,” said Dr. Shippey, “and this agreement formalized between the college and Mahidol University will greatly expand our ability to allow students to study abroad.”