Expanding International Collaboration
For the past two years, Baruch’s School of Public Affairs (SPA) has enjoyed a productive partnership with Belgium’s Ghent University and University College Ghent (the latter two schools are soon to merge). Part of this affiliation has been the opportunity for Baruch faculty and students to attend Ghent’s International Week, an annual event that gathers Ghent’s 64 university partners for a variety of purposes, including faculty research and courses in subjects such as health care policy, immigrant services, and local economic development. This past March several Baruch students, along with SPA Dean David Birdsell, attended International Week in Ghent, the beautiful medieval city in Belgium’s Flemish region.
According to Dean Birdsell, “What International Week does more than anything else is to bring the partners together so they can meet one another and learn a little bit about opportunities. We also expand the footprint of possible international collaboration for Baruch students and faculty.”
Another aspect of the schools’ bilateral relationship is the opportunity for students to spend a semester abroad. Baruch has already hosted several Belgian exchange students, and next fall Ghent University will reciprocate when Baruch students spend a semester there. Strengthening the partnership’s already tight bonds are Baruch faculty members who have been exploring collaborations with their Belgian counterparts.
Previously Ghent U. and Baruch had a more informal relationship, begun in 2006, which included Belgian students spending anywhere between a day and a week in New York City. In April 2012, over 50 Belgian students visited Baruch in a continuation of that tradition.