The University of Houston-Victoria is assuming a leadership role in establishing a nationwide organization called the Consortium to Enhance Language Diversity Abroad. CELDA will investigate and implement creative funding programs to multiply opportunities for students, including those at UHV, to study abroad.
According to President Tim Hudson, “UHV’s leadership role is made possible because the entire University of Houston System has adopted strategic planning goals which include, among other important international initiatives, an emphasis on getting more students from all of the campuses to study abroad.”
Already at work, CELDA has become involved in a project called TREK, which will allow up to 300 students to earn partial stipends for study in Latin America this summer. If the project goes as planned, that number could swell to as many as 4,000 in 2007.
UHV has partnered with the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities to help spread the word to students about the project. A nonprofit organization, HACU represents more than 450 colleges and universities committed to Hispanic higher education success, and it is the only national education association that represents Hispanic-Serving Institutions.
“HACU is happy to be involved with this project,” said Dr. Antonio Flores, president and CEO of HACU. “Hispanic students are underrepresented, not only in higher education generally, but in study-abroad opportunities particularly, and programs like this help to reduce the financial barriers to their participation.”
Many of the participants in this summer’s project are expected to be Latino students from the Houston and Golden Crescent area.
“This project is significant because many Latino students, although heritage speakers of Spanish, have not developed Spanish reading and writing skills,” Hudson explained. “University graduates who invest in Spanish language skills typically find that resource to be an important tool in a global, internationalized economy.”
Those interested in the project for August 2006 can find information by visiting this site. The TREK project for August 2006 is not only available to students but to anyone over 18 years old planning summer-abroad activities. For further information, call the Office of Special Projects at UHV at (361) 570-4186 or call 1-877-970-4848.