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Expanding Mizzou Engineering’s international education program

The College of Engineering is organizing a new student exchange program that will offer young engineers the opportunity to obtain a truly international education.

College leaders have agreed to launch an exchange program next fall with Sunchon National University (SNU) in South Korea. SNU, which focuses on engineering education, features international exchange programs with universities in 13 different countries.

“MU students who study at SNU will not only further their technical education, but will also be narrowing the cultural differences between east and west as they study, experience and learn the culture of Korea,” said John Bowders, a civil and environmental engineering professor who is setting up the program. “In fact, with all SNU’s exchange programs, they’ll learn about many cultures.”

The city of Suncheon has been Columbia’s sister city since 1991, and SNU and MU signed a partnership agreement shortly thereafter. SNU President Manchai Chang visited MU in mid-September to renew university ties and to promote the creation of an engineering student exchange program.

The SNU exchange program will greatly expand Mizzou Engineering’s international education capabilities, which currently are centered on exchanges with Brazilian and Chinese universities, Bowders said.

Bowders said he aims to send two MU engineering students to Korea’s SNU and bring two Korean undergraduates to Mizzou next fall. The Mizzou Engineering students would stay in Korea for a few weeks to a year, studying their engineering major and taking Korean culture classes, he said.

While details on the exchange program’s tuition, overall costs and housing still must be finalized, participants probably will pay their home tuition and receive academic credit at their home institution for the schoolwork they complete at the exchange school, Bowders said.

The Korean exchange students will be able to choose from either a one- or two-year program at Mizzou Engineering, Bowders said. Those who study at Mizzou Engineering for two years will likely receive an MU degree, and all the exchange students will be encouraged to apply for graduate school, he said.

“We all benefit as long as there are more engineers out there,” Bowders said. “Whether they go home or stay here, there’s a need for them.”

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