International guests welcomed

By Website Administrator | Nov 2, 2001

University's International Program hosts 39 exchange students and 10 Ukrainians participating in the Business for Russia/Community Connections program

University's International Program hosts 39 exchange students and 10 Ukrainians participating in the Business for Russia/Community Connections program

How can an American technological university and a small Michigan community establish meaningful connections and lasting friendships with international visitors from around the world?

For Flint and Kettering's Office of International and Governmental Activities, one way is to provide an exceptional educational opportunity, a chance to observe American businesses in action, a caring host family from the Flint community and the commitment of Kettering administrators David Doherty and Celia Bandl.

For more than nine years, Dave Doherty, vice president of International and Governmental Activities, and Celia Bandl, director of International Programs, have worked in broadening the reach of Kettering's brand of cooperative education. In simple terms, Kettering's student exchange program and the Business for Russia/Community Connections initiative are not just functions of their careers at Kettering. In many ways, their work in both endeavors affords the University and Flint community opportunities to develop friendships with people from throughout the world that over time bring the importance of Kettering's International Program into sharp focus.

Currently, Doherty and Bandl are hosting 49 international guests: 39 are exchange students at the University who come from Europe and Canada. Kettering conducts student exchange programs in concert with the University's partner institutions, which include Fachhochschulen Esslingen, Reutlingen, Ulm, University of Strathclyde, Scotland, University of Newcastle Upon Tyne, United Kingdom, the University of Windsor, Canada, and the University of New Brunswick, Canada.

Based on the initial responses of students, Bandl said that the students "enjoy their contact with Kettering faculty and students,the recreation center, their classes and the chance to travel in the U.S. and Canada." In addition, Kettering's Office of International and Governmental Activities participates in the Business for Russia/Community Connections Program with the support and sponsorship of the United States Department of State - Educational and Cultural Affairs Bureau, which brings professionals from Russia and the Ukraine to Flint to learn how Americans conduct business firsthand.

Doherty and Bandl, with the assistance of the Flint Area Chamber of Commerce and the Flint community, welcomed 10 professionals Oct. 12 from the Ukraine to into the program. These professionals live with a host family in the Flint area for five weeks and visit businesses like those in their home country. Some of the local businesses these individuals will observe include Citizens Bank, Bank One, McLaren Hospital, Peerless Furniture, Italia Gardens and Kettering University among others. Additionally, they attend seminars on American business practices, one of which was on the Kettering campus Oct. 29 and presented by Neil T. McCarthy, associate professor of Finance.

"All of the international guests are impressed with their host families and opportunities to see how Americans conduct business" -- Celia Bandl, director of International Programs

In May 1995, Kettering welcomed Group 1 of the Business for Russia/Community Connections program to the Flint community. Current participants comprise Group 21 and over the years each group has averaged nine or 10 participants. "All international guests are impressed with their host families and opportunities to see how Americans conduct business," Bandl explained.

Plans for Kettering's student exchange program and the University's portion of the U.S. Government's Business for Russia/Community Connections program include sending more Kettering students overseas to study at the school's partner European institutions and a new round of professionals from either Russia or the Ukraine in 2002. In Bandl's view, both programs offer Kettering and the local community not only a chance to create friendships with international guests, but to learn about other cultures.

For more information on Kettering's International Program, contact the Office of International and Government Activities at (800) 955-4464, ext. 9869.

Written by Gary J. Erwin
(810) 762-9533
gerwin@kettering.edu