US, Cuba Relations Leading to College Exchange Programs, International Campuses


With President Barack Obama seeking to normalize the United States' relations with Cuba, various colleges are now trying to implement exchange programs with the island nation.

"I think there's going to be an explosion in all of those kinds of collaborations," Mauro Guillen, director of the Lauder Institute for Management and International Studies at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School, told the Associated Press.

For example, Auburn University's College of Agriculture already has an agreement in place with the Agrarian University of Havana on a five-year exchange program. Cal State - Fullerton and the University of the District of Columbia have similar agreements, the AP noted.

Obama's approach to easing restrictions on travel to Cuba is going to be gradual. U.S. citizens cannot yet book a flight and hotel and vacation in Cuba, but trips for educational purposes are becoming easier to make. Past restrictions created a series of hurdles for schools to clear and there was no guarantee of approval.

Schools are not only seeking to exchange students between the U.S. and Cuba, but are also seeking to recruit prospective applicants, the AP noted. Florida International University is reportedly planning to open a campus in Cuba. Additionally, there seems to be incentive for U.S. schools to recruit in the island nation.

"A lot of my students, they want to go to Cuba not just because they can learn about this fascinating place, but they also see themselves potentially in the very near future doing business over there," Guillen said. "Cuba has probably the highest educational standards in all of Latin America.

"They have a relatively well-educated population and it would be wonderful to attract those students to the United States in big numbers."

(Source: Associated Press)

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