June 14, 2006

Exchange program brings French students to SIUC

by Sun Min

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- A group of business students from France is getting a taste of Southern Illinois during an exchange program sponsored by the College of Business and Administration at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

Over a six-week period that ends July 7, MBA students from ESC Grenoble Ecole de Management in Grenoble, France, are staying in SIUC residence halls and taking two courses in the college.

"I'm thrilled," said Richard Rivers, associate dean of the college. "We're very happy to be able to work with Grenoble to develop this partnership. This is the third year we've had the French students here. I think this is a great opportunity."

The arrangement also provides the 20 students a chance to experience U.S. business through visits to firms. This year they'll stop by Southern Illinois Healthcare in Carbondale, Blue Sky Vineyard in Jackson County and Mid America Motoworks in Effingham. They'll also tour the Mercantile Exchange and the Federal Reserve, both in Chicago.

In addition, the French students will take an American culture course at SIUC's Center for English as a Second Language. "It's very exciting to see students learn about American ways and learn other perspectives," said Marilyn Rivers, center director.

SIUC business students can also participate in the program at the ESC Grenoble campus in France. Students who opt for the one-year exchange program receive degrees from both universities.

It's all part of an effort to spread the SIUC name internationally and to attract more foreign students to the campus.

"If we can get students to come here for a short period of time, they'll tell their families and friends to come here and they'll come here for graduate school," said Marilyn Rivers.

"This program is a model for a number of others. We want to develop further partnerships in other countries," said Richard Rivers.

Developing citizen-leaders with global perspectives is among the goals of Southern at 150: Building Excellence Through Commitment, the blueprint for the development of the University by the time it celebrates its 150th anniversary in 2019.