Latin American universities target North America

AUTHOR: Maria Clara Tamayo
DATE: 10/07/2014

Latin American universities are taking steps to attract English-speaking students who may have ignored the region previously, by offering more courses in English and seeking accreditation in the United States.

Universities from Tijuana to Tierra del Fuego are part of an increased push to make campuses more inviting for students from the northern hemisphere, said Fernando Leon Garcia, president of Mexico's private university, CETYS – Centro de Enseñanza Técnica y Superior. 

Language barriers continue to thwart those efforts. Few Latin American universities offer courses in English, and not enough US, Canadian and European students speak Spanish or Portuguese. "Language is generally a problem in Latin American countries when it comes to communicating with developed economies," Leon Garcia pointed out. "On the other hand, developed economies are too comfortable going with the de facto business language, which is English."

However, a handful of Latin American institutions are offering courses in English. The innovations are being driven partly by a White House initiative called "100,000 Strong in the Americas". Launched in 2011 by President Barack Obama and modelled after his 2009 collaboration with China, the initiative aims to double the number of US college students studying in Latin America and the Caribbean and to attract more students from those regions to US universities in less than a decade. In 2011, 40,000 US students were studying in Latin America and the Caribbean, according to White House figures.

Developed nations such as the US and Canada have good reasons to focus on Latin America's poorer countries, said Leon Garcia. "The world's future workforce will be increasingly dependent on emerging economies," he said. "If you look at how the world is changing, players are being redefined."

Source: University World News