Pittsburg State University offers many programs for students and teachers to exchange culture and ideas with international schools. One of those programs is ‘Partners in Paraguay’.
The goal of the program is to give Paraguayan students and opportunity to learn about American culture while completing general education classes.
“What we do is we take our general education courses to Asuncion, Paraguay,” said Dr. Bobby Winters, associate dean in the department of arts and sciences and director of PSU in Paraguay. “We send down one teacher at a time and that teacher will teach there for three-or-four weeks everyday teaching in English to a class of Paraguayans and students who come from the English-speaking schools in Asuncion, Paraguay.”
The program was created in 2007 and has provided an opportunity for PSU instructors and professors to experience international study as a faculty member.
“We’ve sent down quite a few teachers. There are quite a few people who are faculty at Pittsburg State University who have had the experience of going to Paraguay. Experiencing the Paraguayan culture at the same time, we have quite a few Paraguayan students have come to PSU after having had this experience to be undergraduates here,” Winters said.
Paraguay is in South America near Bolivia, Argentina, Uruguay, and southern Brazil. The capital city, Asuncion, is the location for the PSU in Paraguay program.
“It provides us a unique connection with a country that is a great place, but very few people are aware of it. It gives our faculty that go down there not only an international experience but an experience of being in a developing country as well,” Winters said.
As part of the program, students learn different subjects every month. All of the classes give a basic idea of general education classes to students.
“In 2022 we’re sending courses in communication, English, literature, history, as well as some business courses and psychology, just your standard general education courses,” Dr. Winters said.
Dr. Winters talked about Paraguay’s third world status and how the country has developed quickly and is continuing to grow.
“Most of us, you know, we’ve grown up watching documentaries of people floating down the Amazon, and there is some of that, but that’s not what are our teachers experience. Asuncion is a modern city, and the country is not what you might expect,” Winters said.
Winters continued to speak about the student experience with American professors and instructors.
“That is part of the experience for the Paraguayan students, because they are in a transition. They are not only going from high school to college, but they need to know how American universities work. And part of our mission is that we go down and we say, ‘this is what American universities are like,” Winters said.
PSU in Paraguay gives Pitt State staff an opportunity to learn about the Paraguayan culture. They are also given international experience by living in Asuncion.
“At the same time, our teachers are living in the city of Asuncion. You walk around and you see what it’s like to live there,” Winters said.
PSU in Paraguay will continue to send teachers to Asuncion, Paraguay in 2022. The academic school year in Paraguay lasts from March to November.
“PSU in Paraguay has been a valuable part of the PSU experience since its inception, and I hope that it can continue for a while longer,” Dr. Winters said.
More information about PSU in Paraguay can be found at pittstate.edu