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Boise State Global Education Center Awarded Grant to Support Colombia Study Abroad Program

The Center for Global Education at Boise State University will receive a $25,000 grant from the Partners of the Americas Foundation and Metlife to support engineering academic exchanges between Boise State and La Escuela Colombiana de Ingeniería Julio Garavito in Bogotá, Colombia.

“The criteria for this award was inclusivity and diversity, and reaching out to students that probably would not participate in international education programs. The award money is dedicated to provide scholarships to students so that they can participate in these programs,” said Assistant Provost for the Center for Global Education Gonzalo Bruce. “For the international education world, this award is a prestigious recognition.”

The award will enable 10 Boise State students to travel for one week to La Escuela Colombiana de Ingeniería Julio Garavito in Bogotá, Colombia, and for 10 Colombian students to attend Boise State for one semester. Boise State students will collaborate in person and virtually to create solutions to real-world engineering problems for companies in Colombia. These studies abroad will be part of a curriculum for a Boise State engineering course on global perspectives that will be offered fall semester 2019.

Dean of the College of Engineering, JoAnn Lighty, spoke of the opportunities that the international exchange will provide for Boise State and La Escuela engineering students.

“The College of Engineering is excited to partner with the Center for Global Education in this initiative with La Escuela, as COEN students will be participating in solving a global issue of industrial significance in coordination with La Escuela students. International learning opportunities such as this are important to prepare our engineering students for working in a global context,” said Lighty.

The selected Boise State bachelor’s students will travel with one faculty member to the partner university in Colombia prior to the fall 2019 semester, during which time they will learn about the social, political and economic context of the country.

“While in Colombia, the students will form four groups comprised of students from Boise State and the partner university,” said Bruce. :These groups will be assigned an engineering ‘problem’ drawn from Colombian companies. When the Boise State students return, they will use the entire semester to communicate with their group members in Colombia and create an engineering solution to the companies’ problem.

For the Colombian bachelor’s and master’s students coming to Boise State for one semester, the emphasis will be on research related to their thesis work at La Escuela.

“The goal is to start building a network of research with Colombia and future researchers, professors and PhD students here in the United States to create more capacity in their research,” said Bruce.  

The Center of Global Education was established at Boise State in 2017 and now supports global learning for 420 international students and about 250 Boise State students traveling abroad.