FMU adds Canadian partner

Lauren Owens, Staff Writer

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FMU signed a comprehensive exchange agreement with a university in Canada, the University of Prince Edward Island (UPEI), on Thursday, March 12.

After months of looking for a university that would be a good fit for a foreign exchange program on the east coast of Canada, FMU professors visited UPEI last summer, and UPEI professors visited FMU in the fall.

“We wanted to make sure we were all invested in making the connection work for the benefit of students on exchange,” Dr. Rebecca Flannagan, FMU professor, said. “After we had our initial meetings, the presidents of the two universities signed agreements which indicated that the program could begin.”

UPEI is relatively the same size as FMU with about 4,400 students. It is located in the capital of the Prince Edward Islands, Charlottetown. The university is close to beaches, and there are also winter activities on campus for the students to take part in.  UPEI is one of the oldest colleges in Canada with a history dating back to the early 19th century.

“We believe that because the school itself shares so many similarities with FMU in terms of student numbers and majors, FMU students will find it a welcoming and familiar place,” Flannagan said.

Professors expect that this exchange program will offer the international experience without actually going overseas.  Students also have the ability to drive their car to the university if they would like to.

The university houses four different programs in art, education, science and veterinary medicine with two separate schools for business and nursing.  Students will now be able to study abroad at UPEI and study in any of the academic areas offered by UPEI.

“We are hopeful that we might have a unique connection with their nursing program as well,” Flannagan said.

Currently there is one student, Aiyanna Johnson, freshman pre-nursing major, planning on studying in Canada.  If she goes, she will be the first foreign exchange student at UPEI.  Johnson plans to take anatomy, literature, political science, history and physiology.

This exchange program is the seventh addition to the international studies program at FMU among programs in various countries such as Germany, England and France.

In comparison to larger schools, the study abroad program at FMU is unique in its setup.  Students have the opportunity to study abroad without incurring any extra charges to their tuition costs.  The cost of travel is also covered for students traveling abroad. Students are also able to get special grants and scholarships to help cover the additional cost of studying abroad.

“I think FMU’s program works one-on-one to develop exchanges and make sure that students are ready for what awaits them,” Flannagan said.

FMU is continuously working on adding more study abroad programs to add diversity to the exchange program.

For more information on foreign exchange programs, contact Dr. Mark Blackwell at JBlackwell@fmarion.edu.

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FMU adds Canadian partner