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Universities agree on student opportunity

An agreement with a university in France could translate to more French students at the University of Wisconsin-Superior. 

Chancellor Renee Wachter signed the agreement with University of Le Havre in early June, which involves a student exchange starting in UWS’ transportation and logistics management program. It also allows joint research, trade teaching techniques and faculty exchanges.

“I think it will be very beneficial to the University of Wisconsin-Superior to enhance the international presence on campus,” Virginia Donovan, UWS assistant professor of French, said in a prepared statement. “Having more students from France will be ‘like a breath of fresh air’ at UWS.”

The University of Le Havre is located in a vital European port community at the mouth of the Seine River on France’s Normandy Coast. They have about 7,200 students — three times the number of UWS. Donovan says the University of Le Havre students are well prepared to study at UWS. Nearly 200 Le Havre students are already studying transportation and logistics in English. Officials say continuing their studies at UWS would be a natural extension of that preparation.

As for UWS students, they would have to complete four semesters of French, beginning and intermediate, and a one-semester French business course, before getting permission to study at Le Havre. The amount of time students spend at either school hasn’t been determined.

“The term of study hasn’t been determined yet, but typically study abroad programs last a semester or a year,” said Tom Hansen, UWS spokesman.

UWS provost Faith Hensrud said this could be a great partnership.

“We are very excited to have this partnership that will allow students from each … country to learn and live in another culture,” Hensrud said. “We see these opportunities to connect and learn with another part of the world to be a positive one, while at the same time assist us with our goals of being a global citizen and open to diverse cultures.”

Simon Rousset, an international student from France who graduated from UWS in 2011, provided the impetus for the agreement. He saw similarities between the universities so he contacted Le Havre and piqued the interest of Lydie Pelleray, an English as a second language teacher who then contacted Donovan.

Donovan immediately turned to Dr. Richard Stewart, chairman of the transportation and logistics management program for help. Donovan also reached out to the Office of International Programs to guide her on international enrollment requirements, and Suzanne Griffith, associate dean of academic affairs, who administered the academic aspects of the agreement.

The agreement is expected to let the partnership advance beyond transportation and logistics.

“I would like to see them become a sister university, not only for business, but also for French language study,” Donovan said.