ORIGINALLY POSTED 10/01/2017 |
FROM THE FALL 2017 ISSUE
UTSA’s director of Education Abroad Services, Brandon Lanners, has a goal to open up a new level of enthusiasm and international experiences for students. Lanners arrived at the university this past year after serving in roles coordinating the study abroad program at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Sombrilla Magazine talked with Lanners to get his perspective on international programs.
"When you get out of your comfort zone—away from family and friends—you are challenged in ways not possible by studying solely on campus. This is how you grow."
If you could give a student one reason to study abroad what would it be?
When you get out of your comfort zone—away from family and friends—you are challenged in ways not possible by studying solely on campus. This is how you grow—as a person, as a student, as a professional. Isn’t that what college is all about?
Do you have any myths versus realities to share?
You may think that it’s too expensive, that you have to speak another language, or that you will delay graduation. We are here to help you identify economical programs, funding sources, programs based in English, and programs to keep you on track with your degree. Study abroad adds value, no matter what your course of study.
What was your study abroad experience, if any, like?
As an undergrad in 2002 and 2003 I spent a year in Quito, Ecuador, in South America. I studied psychology and political science in classes with local students and lived with a host family. I worked hard to improve my language skills and to make Ecuadoran friends. It’s with me to this day. My wife is from Mexico, we speak Spanish at home with our kids, and I’ve been working in education abroad ever since.
What brought you to UTSA?
With its commitment to achieving Tier One status, UTSA is clearly under transformation, and I wanted to be part of it. The university’s story is inspiring. So was the vision and drive of campus leaders to raise international engagement. I had 12 years of experience in my field, and I saw an institution where I could help take things to the next level.
Where do you see the program headed in the future?
Internationalization means a culture change down to our core as an institution, and my focus is on academic departments. I want to support every department to have a signature international experience for their students. And I want credit from abroad to come back seamlessly and substantively toward their graduation requirements—like they never left campus. This increases access for our students, and they bring their global-mindedness back to our classrooms.
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