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California-Mexico exchange program made official

Cal State University Long Beach officials signed the California-Mexico project on Monday, opening the door for students and professors to exchange between universities.

After two years of talks, the agreement was reached between CSULB and the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), however, the program began in spring 2008.

“This is where we need to go,” said Dean of the College of Liberal Arts, Gerry Riposa. “We are taking a huge step with one of the largest universities in Mexico, and we are always happy anytime we can make more relationships with friends.”

The program will oversee the exchange of undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, joint research, cultural expression and athletic competition between the participating institutions.

Funding for this program will be a joint collaboration between both universities and both groups will explore creating a bi-national certificate and degree program as the project grows. Like other direct exchange programs currently implemented on campus, students will pay their home school tuition and complete the process through their own university.

The program will exchange two faculty members and a group of five students from each university beginning next semester. Both colleges are expecting to increase student participation by emphasizing the ease and affordability of the direct exchange program.

Chicano-Latino Studies professor Armando Vazquez-Ramos said he proposed the project after noticing a disproportionate and limited educational collaboration between the two countries in spite of the bolstering economic relationship between the two geographic regions.

Vazquez-Ramos helped to coordinate the program with UNAM officials by establishing a general agreement between the universities of Mexico’s National Association of Universities and Institutions of Higher Education (ANUIES) and seven CSU campuses in the Los Angeles area.

“It makes sense to recognize and make formal this agreement with our closest neighbor,” said Kenneth Curtis, assistant vice president for international education.

“Working with any prestigious school like a Cal State is a great opportunity,” said UNAM general director, José Luís Palacio.

“We are very enthusiastic and plan to start getting more and more students involved, as it is, we already have many who are interested in studying in California,” said Alfredo Álvarez Cárdenas, the UNAM director.

“Students are encouraged to take the chance and put themselves out there,” Palacio said.

For those interested in the California-Mexico program, the Center for International Education on campus can be of assistance with everything from general guidelines, review criteria and deadlines for the application process.

“This is just one of several agreements, I hope,” Vazquez-Ramos said.

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