International Educator - January/February 2013 - 32
After the Curtain Fell
Along with this openness has come internationalization. A number of Western-style universities have sprung up in the region, while public institutions strive to draw international students from throughout the world. That push to internationalization is designed in part to create a “more aware and open people, and hopefully will lead to a peaceful place,” says Nina Lemmens, director of internationalization and communication at the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), which works to attract foreign students and faculty to universities throughout Germany, including the portion that once stood in then-East Germany. It’s a far different era from when ideology separated East from West. Before the Iron Curtain fell in 1989, the international students at universities in Central and Eastern Europe primarily came from traditional Communist allies in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. And the system and teaching style were quite different from that found at U.S. colleges and universities. Ivan Manev, a Bulgarian native who now is dean and professor of management at the University of Maine in Orono and a member of the board of trustees at the American University in Bulgaria (AUBG), started his undergraduate studies in 1982. He studied international economics at what was then known as the Institute of Economics at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences in Sofia. Students were on a set path. Once they selected their major there was no deviation, and no elective classes. Manev, who was good at math and statistics, would have only been able to study those subjects, which were outside his immediate discipline, on his own time and he was already going to class 43 hours a week. The first couple of years were “esoterical and theoretical,” and Manev expected courses would
Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) students who traveled to Dubrovnik, Croatia, to study abroad for an academic term at RIT’s partner the American College of Management and Technology.