In recent years, several short-term study abroad programs led by Trinity faculty have provided students distinctive international learning experiences. These programs provide added value by allowing our students to work closely with Trinity faculty members in an international setting while taking rigorous classes that align with the goals of the Pathways curriculum. Since students travel and learn together as a cohort, they often bring their experiences back to campus in a meaningful way, weaving these experiences and personal relationships more deeply into their overall Trinity experience. We will explore creating equally rich additional programs by developing appropriate curricular goals, risk management procedures, assessment metrics, and oversight that prioritize academic rigor, student safety, and administrative cost efficiency.
We will find more effective ways to deliver high quality international experiences to a greater number of Trinity students, especially among student populations with historically low participation in study abroad. Our goal is to find and achieve the ideal balance of faculty-led and third-party programs for Trinity.
Trinity University has implemented a new program model for students studying abroad, led by the Center for International Engagement (CIE) in Germany. Students, faculty, and CIE staff spent seven weeks studying and traveling to multiple cities in Germany, visiting interesting cultural and historical landmarks in places such as Munich and Dresden.
The program, created by Carolina Fuentes, study abroad adviser, and Andre Martinez, the assistant director for study abroad, is designed to offload all organizational aspects of the program onto the CIE so that accompanying faculty could focus on doing what they do best: teaching.
Martinez hopes that, in the future, CIE-run programs will be more sustainable for the University and allow students richer learning experiences. “Study Abroad is an exhausting business,” he says. “If the CIE can develop other models to reduce burnout by faculty and promote study abroad to interested faculty then that is what we need to do.”
This summer, 18 Trinity students hopped on a 5,000-mile flight to Spain for Trinity’s annual Madrid Summer Program. As part of the six-week experience, organized by Trinity’s Center for International Engagement, these Tigers interned for Spanish companies, took classes led by faculty from the University’s Mexico, the Americas, and Spain (MAS) program, then spent their evenings immersed in Madrid’s vibrant culture.
But this year, the group was also called on to help an official San Antonio economic delegation open a door for Spanish investment in San Antonio. “We went from being in a classroom to being in a room full of CEOs, and we got to make connections with all these Spanish companies,” says Antonio Pedraza ’19. “We helped these companies in Madrid see there is commercial potential in San Antonio.”
The Texas delegation, launched as an investment promotion mission to Spain, included Texas Secretary of State Rolando Pablos, the San Antonio Economic Development Foundation (SAEDF), the San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (SAHCC), among others. They met with Spanish industry leaders in the fields of cybersecurity, advanced manufacturing, and renewable energy, pitching San Antonio as an attractive gateway to the U.S. market.
Trinity University was invited to join the delegation, says finance and decision sciences professor Eugenio Dante Suarez, to demonstrate San Antonio’s talented labor pool.
Now, Trinity's entrepreneurship program is also poised to offer future students an innovative twist: These students will get to keep working for their Spanish companies from right here in San Antonio in the fall, after their summer program ends. “This delegation has opened the door to a new model of experiential education,” Suarez says. “Our students will provide a seamless landing for their companies when they expand their operations to San Antonio.”
Pedraza says he already has offers from multiple Spanish companies to work in San Antonio this fall. “Being part of Trinity's MAS and entrepreneurship programs has been so much more than we all expected,” Pedraza says. “Before I came to Spain, I couldn’t see myself doing this—being an entrepreneur, being a professional. This opened my eyes to what it takes to succeed out there in the real world.”