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Hosting the World: International Students at LVC
08.28.13 |
The LVC community has sent its students and graduates across the globe since its earliest days, often as missionaries. Likewise the College has long welcomed international students to campus. But it was Dr. John A. Synodinos H’96 who formally prioritized both international student recruitment and study abroad when he became LVC’s 15th president in 1988. He tapped Dr. Arthur Ford ’59, then professor and chair of English and just back from a Fulbright fellowship at Nanjing University in China, to serve as dean of International Programs.

Ford, an avid world traveler who had previously been awarded a Fulbright fellowship at Damascus University in Syria, grabbed his already well-used passport and got started. “First of all, I went to other schools with successful programs to find out what these schools were doing right,” says Ford, who retired from LVC in 2001 and was named professor emeritus of English. “We decided to focus on recruiting international students first—I knew how much getting to know those students could change your own perspective. So we put together an itinerary: I went to the Caribbean, Southeast Asia, the Far East, and it just grew from there.” Ford notes that he also recruited international students from area high schools that were hosting foreign exchange students.

“We also got a number of students from the Eastern European countries that had recently broken off from the Soviet Union,” he adds. “When those students were in the classroom, they’d change the very nature of the class—they had had experiences that other students didn’t even know existed, and could report first-hand on the upheaval that came with the collapse of the Soviet Union.”

Once Ford had established relationships abroad that could bring international students to campus, he turned his attention to establishing study-abroad programs around the world, beginning in France, Germany, and Spain, so that LVC students studying foreign languages could immerse themselves in those cultures. Ford was also instrumental in setting up LVC’s exchange program with Anglia Polytechnic University in Cambridge, England. Other programs began falling into place as well and today the College has full-semester programs in 13 countries and short-term programs in several more each year. Visit to learn about our current programs.

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