College welcomes five international UGRAD students

LINDSBORG, KAN., August 23, 2011—Bethany College welcomes five new international students on campus as part of the U.S. Department of State’s Global Undergraduate Exchange Program in Eurasia & Central Asia (Global UGRAD). Joining the Bethany College family are Ruzanna Boyakhchyan from Armenia, Botagoz Duzelbayeva from Kazakhstan, Olga Ivanchenko from Ukraine, Olga Kislun from Russia, and Irina Zamogilnaia from Russia.

In the past 3 years, international students have comprised on average about 5% of Bethany’s student body, representing 38 countries from six continents. Bethany students have studied in Australia, Spain, Italy, England, Brazil, Argentina, and Japan, and faculty have taught in England and Sweden. Bethany has study relationships with Harlaxton College in England and Karlstad University and Linnaeus University in Sweden, and it also has study abroad programs through the American Institute for Foreign Study, Study Abroad Italy, and Studio Art Centers International.

The Global UGRAD Program aims to advance youth leadership and promote mutual understanding by providing one year of non-degree US study to undergraduates from twelve countries of the former Soviet Union. In addition to their academic studies, Global UGRAD fellows perform community service, explore American traditions through the unique Cultural Passport to America program, and hold one-semester internships.

The Global UGRAD program is highly competitive, averaging over 3,000 applications per year with a 5% rate of acceptance.

The Global Undergraduate Exchange Program in Eurasia & Central Asia is a program of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the Department of State and is administered by the International Research & Exchanges Board (IREX). Since 1992, nearly 4,000 participants have completed the program, increasing diversity on over 140 campuses throughout the continental United States, Alaska, and Hawaii.

The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) of the U.S. Department of State fosters mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries to promote friendly, sympathetic, and peaceful relations, as mandated by the Mutual Educational and Cultural Exchanges Act of 1961. ECA accomplishes its mission through a range of programs based on the benefits of mutual understanding, international educational and cultural exchange, and leadership development. For more information about ECA exchanges, visit http://exchanges.state.gov.

IREX is an international nonprofit organization providing leadership and innovative programs to improve the quality of education, strengthen independent media, and foster pluralistic civil society development.  Founded in 1968, IREX has an annual portfolio of $60 million and a staff of over 500 professionals worldwide.  IREX and its partner IREX Europe deliver cross-cutting programs and consulting expertise in more than 100 countries. For more information about IREX, visit www.irex.org.

Bethany College, established by Swedish Lutheran immigrants in 1881, is a college of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. The mission of Bethany College is to educate, develop and challenge individuals to reach for truth and excellence as they lead lives of faith, learning and service.