University celebrates new study-abroad program in Thailand

Recognizes founding of Consortium at University 30 years ago, and its founder and director Carmelo Urza

6/8/2011 - By: Claudene Wharton
Carmelo Urza, USAC Founder and Director Carmelo Urza, director of the University Studies Abroad Consortium founded and headquartered at the University of Nevada, Reno, will be recognized this Friday for 30 years of service with the program, as well as sign the contract for the new Chiang Mai, Thailand program.

When Carmelo Urza founded the University Studies Abroad Consortium at the University of Nevada, Reno, his goal was to allow university students to study in more nontraditional places abroad, cities not necessarily packed with other American tourists, so that students would truly become immersed in another culture. Through the University and its Basque Studies Program, the Consortium first offered a study-abroad experience in San Sebastian, Spain, in the heart of Basque country. 

Urza’s 30 years of accomplishments with the Consortium that now offers 39 programs in 24 countries and has served students from more than 700 universities will be celebrated in a fitting fashion this Friday, June 10. The contract for the newest program in Chiang Mai, Thailand will be signed at 11 a.m. at the Consortium’s central office on the University of Nevada, Reno campus, in the Virginia Street Gym, Room 5. Urza, University of Nevada, Reno President Marc Johnson, and Rome Chiranukrom, dean of the Faculty of Humanities at Chiang Mai University, will sign the contract for the new program.

Kelly Corrigan, the Consortium’s marketing director, said, “The new program in Chiang Mai really goes back to the roots of Carmelo’s philosophy when founding of the program. Chiang Mai is much less-travelled than Bangkok and is soaked in local Thai culture and tradition.”

In juxtaposition to Bangkok, the coastal Thai capital with a population of over 9 million, Chiang Mai ‘s population is only about 1 million, and it sits on the Ping River in the far north, surrounded by high mountain ranges. The Lonely Planet listed the city as one of the top-10 places to visit in 2011, stating that “If Chiang Mai were a person, it would be Bob Dylan…despite its great age, there’s still a bohemian chic that makes it as relevant and hip as ever.” Corrigan said the program in Chiang Mai will offer some very unique experiences for students.

“In addition to the classes they will take,” she said, “students will have opportunities to do internships and field studies in a rehabilitation facility for elephants, at an AIDS organization, or with the indigenous hill tribe people, for example.”

A wide variety of coursework will be offered, including courses in international finance, business management and relations; money and banking; Buddhist philosophy; comparative politics; Thai society and culture, language, civilization and cuisine; and more.

The University Studies Abroad Consortium’s mission is to provide students with the opportunity to develop the knowledge, skills, experiences and attitudes to prepare them for the global society of the 21st century. For more information, go to the USAC website.


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