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An East Central University professor instrumental in setting up an exchange agreement between ECU and universities in Russia and Ukraine had an opportunity recently to explore additional study abroad opportunities for ECU students.

Dr. Mara Sukholutskaya, associate professor of English and languages, visited Spain on a trip organized and sponsored by the Spanish Embassy in the United States.

"I was fortunate to be included in the group of 15 educators from other American universities," she said. "The purpose of the trip was to provide opportunities for cooperation among American and Spanish institutions of higher learning."

Among the other universities represented on the eight-day tour were Iowa State University, the University of Miami, Pan-American University and the University of Hawaii.

Sukholutskaya interviewed representatives from 24 Spanish universities and language schools and visited 10 of the institutions. She said she took a suitcase filled with ECU brochures, course descriptions, videos and other promotional materials.

"Most of the people that I talked to and the sites that I visited produced a very favorable impression," she said. "Our Spanish colleagues are really interested in establishing serious working relationships with universities in the United States."

She said the University of Saint Louis and Suffolk University, both in Madrid, would be a good match for ECU students, although they are very expensive.

"I was very impressed with the University of Toledo, the University of Estremadura, the European School of Design and several others," she said. "All the schools offer rich cultural programs in addition to regular coursework."

ECU officials are considering ways to expand the university's Study Abroad programs after establishing exchange programs for students and faculty last fall with Kiev National University of Linguistics in Kiev, Ukraine, and State University of Management in Moscow, Russia.

ECU's bi-lateral agreements with those universities allow ECU students to pay ECU's tuition, fees and housing costs while studying at either campus.

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