Students from Latin America at our university and faculty

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During the academic year 2015/2016 the first student mobilities were implemented at our university and faculty within the framework of Erasmus Mundus, Action 2, Strand 1, Lot 8, Latin America, namely the project EULALinks SENSE (European UnionLatin America Academic Links) no. 2014‑0874/001-001 (2014 – 2018), coordinated by the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin in Germany. The local coordinator of the project at the Slovak University of Agriculture in Nitra is prof. Dr. Ing. Elena Horská, the Dean of the Faculty of Economics and Management, while Ing. Jana Gálová, PhD. from the Center for Research and Educational Projects of the FEM SUA in Nitra is in charge of the project management. The project offers the opportunity to carry out student and staff exchanges between Latin American and European countries.

Since autumn we have welcomed 7 students from Latin America: a 6-month scholarship was awarded to undergraduates Yalena Sumaya Jerez Tous, Santiago Andres Duque Zuluaga, Julian David Restrepo Leal and Luis Alberto Palacios Hoyos from the Universidad del Magdalena in Colombia, Kevin Armando Siliezar Madrid from the Universidad de El Salvador in El Salvador and Valentín Schulz Hector Gonzalez from the Universidad Veracruzana in Mexico, and the doctoral student Carlos Sanchez Gomez from the Universidad Autónoma Chapingo in Mexico is currently spending the last days of his 10-month stay in Slovakia.

The emphasis in the implementation of mobilities was mainly on studying and the obligations connected with it. The students had the possibility to participate in field trips within particular courses they were enrolled in and also they have learned the basics of Slovak language within the Slovak language course for foreigners. Numerous activities were prepared already at the beginning of the academic year, starting with the Orientation Week organized by the International Relations Office (IRO) in cooperation with the faculty coordinators and the local section of the Erasmus Student Network (ESN), where all foreign students have attended information meetings and also some trips, while Ing. Gabriela Slivinská from the IRO helped to arrange the study related formalities. Since the first week, fellow ESN students led by their current president Kristína Lauková took care and involved them in various activities. The Nation2Nation thematic evening dedicated to Latin America was a great success: here, the students have prepared a presentation about their country, culture, music, food. Many memories will definitely remain in their minds for a long time, such as visiting the Holy Mass Veni Sancte at the beginning of the academic year, the pre-Christmas informal gathering and attending the concert Christmas gift of the SUA, as well as various events within the Student Days of Nitra Universities. Participation in the event Day of a University Student was certainly an interesting experience, where we have welcomed potential students from secondary schools from Nitra and surrounding towns at our faculty in order to present them our study possibilities, and our foreign students presented themselves and the reasons of their studies in Nitra.

Along with the foreign full-time students of our faculty and students of the EURUS AGRI program they have also attended the student scientific conference Science Connecting Nations, organized under the auspices of the Visegrad University Association (VUA) at the Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences, Szent István University in Gödöllő, Hungary in November. Yalena have also actively participated at the Amber Road International Competition Days in Sopron, Hungary, and even gave a lecture within the course Global Marketing and Emerging Markets. Valentín used his previous experience in teaching English language for pupils at Fatranská primary school and Piarist grammar school in Nitra within the framework of Erasmus in Schools (EIS), a social activity where international students are teaching, presenting their country to Slovak students.

In addition to leisure activities among the university student life, there was also time to explore Nitra, Slovakia and Europe. So what did this exchange bring for students, home institutions and our host university? Above all, strengthening the international atmosphere and multicultural environment in an increasingly globalized world, mutual understanding of cultures and friendships, as well as experience of a lifetime for the students.

Currently, the project activities for the academic year 2016/2017 and the organization of the stays of new students are being prepared. In March 2016, the evaluation meeting of the consortium partners was held in Veracruz, Mexico, where our university was represented by doc. Ing. Natália Turčeková, PhD., the Vice-dean for International Affairs and Public Relations of the FEM SUA in Nitra and the author of the article. The main objective of the meeting was to evaluate the activities carried out so far and to select the grantees for the next academic year, in which we will welcome new students from Latin American countries. An outstanding contribution proving the success of the meeting was the common interest in the continuation of a more intensive cooperation with the representatives of the Universidad del Magdalena in Colombia and the Universidad Autónoma Chapingo in Mexico beyond the project framework in the form of bilateral agreements, which are to be signed within the next few weeks.

Project information can be obtained in person and by visiting the website:

Author: Ing. Jana Gálová, PhD.
Center for Research and Educational Projects
FEM SUA in Nitra 

And what was the experience and opinion of the students about their stay, expressed after returning to their home countries? You can read some of them here.

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