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USF's Peru program offers unique opportunity

Graduating class for Peru program

(August 27, 2013) — Growing up in Peru, Jose Fernandez Alvarez always enjoyed his English classes. And two years ago when his university, Universidad San Ignacio de Loyola in Lima, announced the opportunity to earn a double degree in business administration with both a Spanish and English program, he jumped at the chance.

"The thing that caught my attention was the double degree because I think that gives me a lot of opportunities here in Peru and also in the United States," Fernandez Alvarez said.

 When USF partnered with USIL in 2011, it was the first -- and is still the only -- U.S. business program to offer an undergraduate, AACSB-accredited degree program taught in English in South America. The degree, a Bachelor's in Business Administration with concentrations in marketing and international business, is the same degree students earn at the university's Tampa campus. Peruvian students have the opportunity to study for a semester at the Tampa campus, and Tampa faculty travel to Peru to teach classes in English.

Recently, the first cohort graduated from the program with their USF Bachelor of Science in business administration, with 20 students earning the degree. Muma College of Business Director of Undergraduate Affairs Jackie Nelson and Dean Moez Limayem traveled to Lima to join the students for their graduation.

"It would be impossible for the students in Lima to earn the USF degree having to travel and live in Tampa," said AnneLiese Busch, director of the Center for American Education at USIL. "The savings of room and board and travel make the program accessible for these students."

Cynthia Rojas, a USIL student who is studying in Tampa during fall 2013, said having the professors come to Peru to teach classes in English was part of the draw for her. She said she enjoyed taking classes with management professors Jerry Koehler and Sharon Hanna-West.

"They're very good," she said.

"And kind, too," said classmate Gerardo Cordova Silva.

Rojas and others in her cohort look forward to improving their English further and gaining new experiences during their time in Tampa. And Fernandez Alvarez is now working in the finance department at international nutrition company Herbalife, and believes his USF degree is a big part of the reason he has his job. In fact, he found out after being hired that the CFO of Herbalife in Peru also studied English at the USF Tampa campus.

"The most important thing about me that caught Herbalife's attention was my English," he said. "As a transnational company, they really value that their employees know English."