UPEI students study abroad in Spain through Maymester initiative

| International
The 2024 UPEI Maymester group at the University of Burgos in Northern Spain
The 2024 UPEI Maymester group at the University of Burgos in Northern Spain

A group of 11 UPEI students are currently at the University of Burgos in northern Spain, delving into understanding how heritage can be a key resource in promoting sustainable economic development in rural areas. The students are accompanied by Dr. Melissa James, director of undergraduate programs, UPEI Faculty of Business, and Sherilyn Acorn, manager of the Study and Stay and exchange programs, Office of Study Abroad and International Collaboration.

“This is an incredible opportunity for students to see the history and culture of and learn about sustainable practice in northern Spain,” said James.  

The students were welcomed by Verónica Calderón, vice-chancellor of the University of Burgos. She graciously received the students, emphasizing her university’s commitment to promoting student mobility and cultural exchange and highlighting the importance of international collaboration in the academic field. While speaking with the students, Calderón recommended that, while learning and studying in Burgos, they seek to understand how heritage can be used to generate economic opportunities in rural environments, in addition to participating in an enriching experience that combines academic learning with immersion in the rich cultural, linguistic, and natural heritage of Burgos and the surrounding province. 

While in Spain, the students are participating in training sessions led by faculty at the University of Burgos. The program includes a series of cultural visits to places such as La Catedral, Atapuerca, Las Huelgas, and the Hospital del Ray. They will also be walking some of the final stages of the Camino de Santiago Trail.  

Bianca Boutilier, a third-year business student, said she is grateful to have the opportunity to take part in an educational experience like this. “Learning about the heritage, culture, and sustainable business practices of this beautiful region in Spain has truly broadened my perspective as a business student. Thank you to the Global Skills Opportunity program for the funding to make this possible and the University of Burgos for hosting us and for providing us with this inspiring, once-in-a-lifetime learning opportunity.”

In 2019, another group of UPEI students studied at the University of Burgos and participated in a Maymester program titled, “The Camino de Santiago, Human Heritage, and Sustainable Tourism Practices.” The program, developed by the International Spanish Centre, included academic sessions on history, architecture, and entrepreneurship in rural areas. Acorn remembers it as a fabulous experience for all involved.

“This partnership with Burgos has been in existence since 2015, with our first students coming in 2017 for the semester, which was very successful. We’ve had several students study on exchange since then. The 2019 Maymester was the most incredible program ever, which is why we’re back! We hope to do this over and over and over again.”

For information about upcoming Maymesters, visit UPEI Study Abroad.

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