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Augustana College in Rock Island Illinois to send its students to Sri Lanka


Comments / 1396 Views / Wednesday, 4 July 2012 00:21


After 11 years of making US higher education popular across the tiny island nation in Indian Ocean Scholarships for USA (Pvt) Ltd (www.scholarshipsforusa.com) has commenced promoting Sri Lanka as one of the most viable Study Abroad destinations for its numerous partners in US.

SUSA believes the traffic needs to be both ways and there’s much American students could learn in SL besides earning transferable credits through summer classes. Living with Lankan families, enjoying hospitality which is so much part of Lankan culture, SUSA believes this is one of the best ways to promote understanding and bringing the two nations much closer. Said Priyanthi Dissanayake currently in Chicago on her annual summer visit; “we were trying hard all these years but the war discouraged our partners. Everyone now agrees it’s just about the right time. We have few Lankan institutes (whom we have already partnered with US schools) more than excited to accommodate US students. And the Government of Sri Lanka is very excited to welcome paying international students even on short term. There’s already talk about making it the education hub in South Asia. So this year we have made it our priority to urge each of our partners from Illinois to North Dakota, from Montana to Pennsylvania and from Tennessee to Hawaii to begin with at least a handful of students to Colombo soonest and the response has been tremendous”.

Augustana College (Rock Island, Illinois, USA) is working in conjunction with Scholarships for USA (Pvt) Ltd. (www.scholarshipsforusa.com) of Sri Lanka to develop opportunities for American college students to study, intern and volunteer in Sri Lanka.  

Leaders from Augustana, a selective private liberal arts college located on the banks of the Mississippi River in western Illinois state, met with Scholarships for USA directors Priyanthi and Padmasena Dissanayake recently to discuss both scholarship opportunities for Sri Lankan students interested in study in the United States and possible programs in Sri Lanka for students from the nationally ranked Augustana College.  

The meetings were productive and resulted in high expectations that just as Sri Lankan students will be able to travel to the United States to attend Augustana College, and American students will soon be engaged in study abroad programs in Sri Lanka.

Augustana College has a long tradition of study abroad programming around the globe.  The college currently runs annual study programs in Ecuador, Germany, China, Botswana, Sweden and Australia among other locations.  Additionally, the school staffs and coordinates programs ranging from two-week tours to full year exchanges in locations as varied as Italy, Brazil, Vietnam, Russia, Nicaragua and Ghana.  

Augustana students typically travel with faculty from the school and regularly blend short-term internships or volunteer work with more traditional classwork while overseas.  This past May, over 50 percent of graduating students at Augustana had participated in one of the school’s study abroad opportunities.  

Dr. Allen Bertsche, director of international and off-campus programs at Augustana was enthusiastic about the opportunities available in Sri Lanka. According to Dr. Bertsche, Augustana’s most recent programming in South Asia was a 10-week study program in India in the spring of 2006.

Augustana’s new Dean of Academic Affairs, Dr. Pareena Lawrence, hails originally from South Asia, creating more interest in bringing Augustana students to the region. Dr. Bertsche sees Sri Lanka as an exciting and engaging destination for Augustana students.  

In meetings with the Scholarships for USA directors, Dr. Bertsche expressed confidence that there would be faculty in several academic disciplines who would be interested in bringing students to Sri Lanka. This includes faculty in the fields of comparative religion, business administration, Asian studies, history and economics.  As all Augustana international programs are faculty led, the interest from academic departments is essential for new programs to be created in Sri Lanka.  

Dr. Bertsche believes that while it will take some time to propose, plan and initiate new programs in the region, Sri Lanka possesses many outstanding and attractive opportunities for potential programming.  Augustana College leaders look forward to introducing American students to Sri Lankan culture, history and business.  

Coordinating with Scholarships for USA, Augustana College anticipates developing a program which could see Augustana students in Sri Lanka as soon as 2014. At the same time, Scholarships for USA is coordinating opportunities for Sri Lankan students to study at Augustana College.

Dr. Bertsche cites international student exchange as one of the most valuable and beneficial educational experiences available to young adults and one of the best strategies to ensure long term mutual understanding between nations.


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