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Saturday December 5th, 2020 7:49PM

Brenau University signs study abroad program with country of Panama

By Alyson Shields Reporter
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Brenau University has made a deal with the financial aid agency in Panama to sponsor students abroad.

This is not the Gainesville-based school's first time working with international students in study abroad programs, with programs in several countries, including China. The newest deal was inked on Monday.

Panama, an isthmus between Costa Rica and Columbia,is five years into a 20 year educational system reform. The reform is focused on creating access opportunities to bridge the equity gap and bilingualism as keys to a more competitive economy, with educating students abroad as a main focus of the effort.

“We are thrilled to enter into this mutually beneficial and strategic partnership with the Panamanian government,” said Brenau University President Anne Skleder. “I’m proud of Brenau’s more than 143-year tradition of supporting high achieving and academically motivated students who may have fewer avenues to pursue a higher education. We know education changes lives and the trajectories of families. Through this partnership, we know all of us will grow, including our domestic students by increasing their cultural awareness as they prepare to compete in a global society. We are humbled and honored to be a part of this effort.”

The financial aid agency is Instituto para la Formación y Aprovechamiento de Recursos Humanos (IFARHU) and provides aid and student loans at all levels of the educational continuum.

IFARHU director general, Bernardo Meneses, said the Brenau partnership is exactly what they were looking for.

“I’m very excited to sign this agreement with Brenau University as there will be many benefits made possible through our partnership,” he said. “I am especially looking forward to the exchange programs with the Panamanian universities for the students to come and go.”

Brenau officials said the agreement is a long-term plan, including the benefits from the student life, previous international collaborative partnerships, dedicated faculty and staff and plenty of extra-curricular activities. Brenau students will also benefit from the agreement with academic collaborations with partners in Panama.

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