More than a dozen high school students from around the world visited The University of New Mexico campus recently. The trip was the result of a new partnership between UNM’s Africana Studies program and United World College-USA (UWC-USA), a two-year residential school for international teenagers.
“We wanted to have them on campus because our program is extremely global in its makeup,” said Dr. Robert Jefferson, director, Africana Studies. “We wanted them to get an idea of how Africana Studies intersects with so many different facets of society and give them the chance to see our beautiful campus.”
UWC-USA is an international baccalaureate school made up of more than 230 students, representing 64 countries from around the world. The school, which is one of 15 UWC campuses around the world and the only one in the U.S., is located in Montezuma, N.M.
Students participate in a unique program that brings together challenging academics with an experiential, hands-on approach to learning. UWC-USA also has a deep relationship with the nearby community of Las Vegas, where students participate in an array of service projects.
Earlier this year, UWC-USA invited members of the Africana Studies program to their campus to present on Black History Month.
“We had a panel of brilliant people come to our school and present,” said Carmen Stone, community service coordinator and tutor at UWC-USA. “They were a huge hit and extended an invitation for us to come here and visit them.”
While on campus, students had the opportunity to sit in on one of Jefferson’s Africana Studies classes. Jefferson said his students enjoyed having the international teenagers participate and said the experience was likely eye-opening for many of the visiting students.
The teens also had the chance meet with University academic advisors to learn more about what UNM can offer them. Many international students at UWC-USA decide to stay in the U.S. for college, said Stone. So, being exposed to a university like UNM can make an impact.
Jefferson said he hopes to continue this collaboration between UWC-USA and UNM and looks forward to visiting with more students in the future.
“It’s been a wonderful experience for my faculty and I to form a partnership with UWC,” said Jefferson. “I think it’s been beneficial for everyone.”