AU Abroad expands programs to new locations

AU students considering studying abroad now have the chance to study in Canada, Mexico and the United Arab Emirates, the three nations added to the AU Abroad program this semester, according to Amy Morrill Bijeau, associate director of AU Abroad, formerly the World Capitals Program.

The Mexico program will be based in Mexico City and Monterey, and will look at the country's trade relations and shared cultural and historical experiences, according to the AU Abroad Web site. Canada will be centered at Carleton University in Ottawa and will study the bilateral relationship between Canada and the United States.

Students interested in Mexico or Canada will have an exclusive opportunity not offered for other abroad sites. Students will be eligible for the North American Scholarship, which provides eight students with an award of $2,500, according to the AU Abroad Web site.

"The scholarship will still be available in the spring, and ... will be awarded based on merit and need," Morrill Bijeau said.

It's important for students to learn more about North America in order to improve international relations, she said.

"The Instituto Tecnologico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey in Mexico has a lot of technological advancements that surpass that of accredited schools in the U.S," Bijeau added.

Dr. Robert Pastor, vice president of International Affairs and a professor of International Relations, "is committed to trying to pursue issues for North American integration," according to Dr. Robert Ayres, assistant vice president of International Affairs. "[He] convinced the president that the scholarships were one way to get the students interested."

The American University-Sharjah is located in the United Arab Emirates and "is modeled on the U.S. university system," according to the AU Abroad Web site.

"AU was instrumental in establishing AUS," Ayres said. "We always had the idea that it would be an excellent place for students to study abroad. It is secure in the Middle East compared to some areas and it will provide students with the ability to learn about culture and politics in a safe area."

Besides the programs AU offers, AUS also offers schools of Architecture and Design and a school of Engineering, according to the AU Abroad Web site.

"The instruction at AUS is in English, but students will have opportunities to learn Arabic, and there are proposals for travel to other Middle Eastern sites while at Sharjah," said Ayres.

Pastor and the faculty of the Center for North American Studies "want to facilitate integration between rich and poor countries in a post-Sept.11 world," according to the SIS Web site.

The AU Abroad program, formerly the World Capitals Program, is planning on expanding even more before the year is out.

"The future is so exciting," Morrill Bijeau said. "We are expanding our China program as early as fall of 2004, and are looking at expanding Copenhagen, Moscow, St. Petersburg and Vietnam."

Students interested in learning more about the AU Abroad program and its newest additions can check out www.worldcapitals.american.edu for more information.

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