New International Exchange Agreements Open Opportunities for Study Abroad

Globe and map of the world in classroom

How would you like to augment your studies at one of the world’s leading universities in an exotic far-off land?

Thanks to a growing number of international exchange agreements between Eastern Kentucky University and universities on four other continents, EKU students have myriad opportunities to pursue the educational and cultural experiences of their dreams.

In the last year alone, Eastern has added exchange agreements with institutions in Brazil, China, Japan, Vietnam, Peru and Kenya. That makes a total of 16 such university-wide agreements, plus two specific to EKU’s College of Justice & Safety. Even more are pending.

All the agreements are active, emphasized Dr. Neil Wright, director of international studies, although in most cases the number of students coming to Eastern from partner institutions surpasses the number of EKU students who study abroad.

“We’re looking to raise the number of EKU students who study abroad for one or two semesters,” Wright said, “and these exchanges will facilitate that. These are highly desirable places, safe and beautiful, and they all have tie-ins to programs we have here.”

One of the newest agreements is with FUMEC University, in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, an old, colonial city turned modern metropolis about 60 miles inland from the Atlantic Ocean. The agreement springs from a visit made by EKU President Doug Whitlock and other campus administrators in 2010.

Two of the Brazil university’s hallmark programs are in biofuels and aviation, paralleling EKU’s Center for Renewable and Alternative Fuel Technologies (CRAFT) and a rapidly growing aviation program, particularly the professional flight option. In fact, one Brazilian student from FUMEC worked in the CRAFT laboratories last fall and another joined CRAFT this spring.

“We’re looking for EKU students who want to go to Brazil for a semester to study Portuguese and do an internship in biofuels or aviation,” Wright said.

Another recently established partnership is with Tongji University in Shanghai, China, resulting from a trip Wright made in 2009. Tongji is one of the nation’s leading universities with approximately 25,000 students, he said.

The Tongji agreement is “a pilot program to see if Chinese English majors in their junior year could attend an American university successfully as undergraduate English majors,” Wright said. “Students could transfer here as juniors and complete their junior and senior years here and then be admitted to an American master’s program in English.”

Conversely, Wright said, “we’re looking for students who want to go to China. There’s no more exciting place to be than Shanghai.” EKU students who study at Tongji would probably study the Chinese language, history and culture, as well as perhaps business or economics.

A new agreement with Rikkyo University in Tokyo, Japan, stems from visits made by President Whitlock, and is intended to facilitate exchanges of business students between the two institutions. Exchanges will begin in Fall 2013. EKU students can also study Japanese at Rikkyo.

The exchange agreement with Publicia Universidade Catolicia of Peru was initiated with a stay last summer by an EKU anthropology student.

The only agreement, as of now, with an African institution is with Maseno University in a rural setting near Lake Victoria in western Kenya. “This would provide a global studies focus on Africa and would be ideal for students in our African/African-American Studies program,” Wright said.

An exchange agreement with Vietnam National University of Ho Chi Minh City is geared specifically to accounting majors. Some students from there will be completing an MBA at Eastern.

EKU’s other exchange programs are with:

  • University of Yamanashi, Kofu, Japan, the first to be established (1993).
  • Avans University, Breda, The Netherlands, a dual degree program established in 1998 involving EKU”s College of Business and Technology that gives students the opportunity to earn two baccalaureate degrees in the same time as it would take to earn one degree..
  • Daegu Haany University, Taegu, Korea.
  • Liaoning University of Technology, Jinzhou, China, also a dual degree program involving EKU’s College of Business and Technology. This exchange has resulted in approximately 40 students coming from China to EKU.
  • Xinchang Pharmaceutical Company, Xinchang, China, an MBA program for Xinchang junior executives.
  • Magellan Exchange, a consortium of American and 12 European Union institutions.
  • Netanya Academic College, Israel, cooperative programs in mathematics.
  • Iqra University, Karachi, Pakistan, cooperative programs in the College of Education.
  • Universidade Benemerita de Puebla, Puebla, Mexico, a student exchange for Spanish majors.

EKU currently boasts approximately 330 international students from approximately 60 countries.

For more information about any of the exchange agreements, contact Dr. Neil Wright at or 859-622-1478.

Contact Information

Dr. Neil Wright

Published on March 28, 2012