Centenary College partners with Caribbean university for exchange opportunities

SHREVEPORT, LA — The world just became a little larger for students at Centenary College of Louisiana.

A partnership with the Université des Antilles (University of the Antilles) provides new opportunities for Centenary students to study abroad, gain additional international experiences and broaden their educational horizons. Centenary President Dr. David Rowe recently signed a formal agreement with UA President Corinne Mencé-Caster.

“This global partnership adds a new dimension to the international educational opportunities available to Centenary students,” Dr. Rowe explains. “Martinique, Guadeloupe and the francophone Caribbean share rich historic and cultural ties with Louisiana.” Dr. Rowe adds that Centenary has a real strength in the study of cultures of the Francophone world, even operating the only French language press in the U.S.

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Located in the French West Indies, the University of the Antilles enrolls more than 6,000 students on campuses on the islands of Guadeloupe and Martinique. In addition to researching and curating the French and Creole culture of the area, the University and its students, along with several regional and international partners, study the native biology of the islands and the ocean.

Professor of French Dr. Dana Kress says this partnership expands more than academic opportunities. “Our new exchange program with the Université des Antilles opens a door for Centenary students who wish to discover a world-class Caribbean university whose cultural roots extend from Paris to West Africa. Many of our students who think they are simply going to a tropical island paradise will discover an interconnectedness that they never dreamed existed. It will be life-changing, particularly for some of our African-American students whose unique heritage is an integral part of the history of these islands.”

For many years, global experiences have been central to the Centenary College academic program starting with an immersive Centenary in Paris program for all first-year students. Ongoing study abroad opportunities are available for Centenary students at colleges and universities on almost every continent, including recent additions, like the University of the Antilles, outside of traditional exchange settings in Europe and Asia. More than 70% of current Centenary students have already had an international educational experience, with many students having more than one.

 “This is a wonderful opportunity for Centenary students to expand their circle and learn in a unique cultural context,” notes Dr. Christopher Lavan, Centenary’s Director of Global Engagement. “Students are immersed in the French language during Centenary in Paris, and now they will be able to see that a core language such as French can be used in a different dialect in a setting with a different history. They’ll see that language can connect people without necessarily defining them.”

While student exchanges are the first step in the partnership, the agreement also calls for future faculty and staff exchanges, visiting scholars, cultural exchange programs, and other cooperative activities. Lavan is excited for the experiences that students from the University of the Antilles will have at Centenary. “We hope those students coming to us have as rich an experience in Louisiana as our students will have in the Caribbean.”

Lavan reminds students that “Our world is becoming more interconnected each day.” He adds that though many schools offer international experiences, the way Centenary “integrates global learning and living into both an academic and cultural experience is truly special.”