Friday, June 13, 2014

Seated left and right are Benedict College Exchange students, Ravonne and Ramonne Pious; seated center is UG Exchange student, Isader Salazar.

Columbia, SC -- June 13, 2014 -- For the first time, Universidad de la Guajira (UG) welcomes United States exchange students and calls for participation in the promotion of international collaboration. A 2010 Memorandum of Understanding, between the Office of International Programs at Benedict College in Columbia, South Carolina, United States and Universidad de la Guajira in Riohacha, La Guajira, Colombia, South America, was set in motion for an international cooperation strategy to promote student mobility at UG. Such is the case of Benedict College twin brothers, Ravonne and Ramonne Pious (seated left and right), who for the next two months, will interact with Universidad de la Guajira professors and students to learn Spanish, Colombian Culture, Afro Colombianness,. They will visit rural areas in the Guajira High Plains, and learn the cosmovision (defined by as a particular view or understanding of the world, especially the view of time and space and its ritualized representation and enactment by Mesoamerican peoples) and culture of the ancestral Wayuu Nation. The Universidad de la Guajira, accordingly, will send a student to Benedict College for one semester.

The School of Educational Sciences at Universidad de la Guajira selected their exchange student through a rigorous process where several units of the institution actively participated. The units included the Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs, the Office of International Relations (ORI), and the School of Languages. Universidad de la Guajira's Dean of the School of Educational Sciences, Dr. Cecilia Constanza Lemos Ruiz, stated that, during their two-month stay, the Pious brothers will help monitor English programs that are en route to accreditation, such as Child Pedagogy, Industrial Engineering and Public Accounting. Mr. Ramonne Pious said they were very anxious to begin their academic activities with their Guajiran peers, given that this was their first visit to Colombia. "We are very excited about helping, teaching, and learning during this cultural and academic exchange. This is a great opportunity to learn more about this country and about La Guajira."

Mr. Ravonne Pious said he was very happy to be in Riohacha, "I still don't believe I am here. I am interested in the country's culture, its people, everything." Professors Carmen Marin and Tania Caramo will be in charge of the Spanish program, professor Alexis Carabali will teach the brothers about Colombia and afro colombianness, and professor Margarita Pimienta will teach them about the Wayuu culture.

Some of Universidad de la Guajira's requirements to participate in the exchange selection process include: the student must be between the 4th and 8th semester of study; have a good command of the English language; have a minimum GPA of 4 on a scale of 1-5; and write a letter of interest demonstrating a firm commitment to Universidad de la Guajira and its academic activities. Mr. Isader Salazar (seated center), who is majoring in International Business Relations, was selected.

Mr. Salazar will study at Benedict College for one semester with tuition, room and board, and books covered under the exchange agreement. Universidad de la Guajira will provide Mr. Salazar with international airfare. Professors Benjamin Mielenz, Carlos Ortega, and Orlando Lopez will assist him with his English practice prior to his departure to Benedict College. The courses taken at Benedict will transfer directly into Mr. Salazar's program of study at Universidad de la Guajira. He will begin his study at Benedict the first week of August 2014.

For more information, please contact Dr. Norma Lozano-Jackson, Director Office of International Programs, Benedict College (803) 705-4527 or email:


Kymm Hunter, Assistant Vice President for Communications and Marketing; 803.705.4519
Carolyn Wigfall, Communications and Marketing Manager; 803.705.4366

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