This week, San Diego is hosting more than 12,000 international study-abroad educators and professionals for the National Association of Foreign Student Advisors (NAFSA) 2014 Annual Conference and Expo held at the San Diego Convention Center in downtown San Diego.
Participants and exhibitors come from around the globe to establish or reaffirm partnerships with different countries and educational institutions to enhance the study abroad experience for all students.
The convention is a week-long event that began on Saturday, May 24 and ends on May 30.
Welcome to SDSU
San Diego State University invited more than 200 NAFSA participants to campus to receive personalized tours from SDSU Ambassadors.
The NAFSA guests were ushered through the Conrad Prebys Aztec Student Union for a welcome event held in the theater.
Following opening remarks from SDSU International Programs Vice President, Alan Sweedler and College of Extended Studies Dean, Joe Shapiro, SDSU President Elliot Hirshman welcomed the educators to the campus and spoke about the important role of global partnerships in education.
"The international character of economic, political and social systems is already and will continue to be the dominant force this century and all of us in higher education have to prepare our students for this global world they will inherit," Hirshman said.
Several current SDSU international students were also in attendance to help welcome the NAFSA guests to SDSU. Business management senior, Gabriella Bortoluzzi from Brazil spoke of her great experiences while at SDSU.
"It's been amazing, probably the best experience of my life," she said. "It's just great to be part of SDSU and be an Aztec. I have learned so much by going to college here and I have met so many people from all over the world and I feel the academics are much more challenging here."
After the welcoming ceremonies, guests were taken on campus tours.
Camilla Örnroth, general director of Student Travel Schools traveled from Sweden to participate in the annual conference and to visit SDSU.
"We have been working with SDSU for almost ten years and it has been a great experience for our students and this conference and visit is a way of renewing our partnerships," Örnroth said.
Carla Jimenez, from Universidad Del Desarollo of Chile also talked about how her students return from studying SDSU with a profound experience.
"It's beautiful here and I now fully understand why my students love San Diego as an exchange destination. The campus is beautiful and the city is wonderful," Jimenez said.
The International Students Center hosted a luncheon where Sweedler thanked guests for their partnerships in study abroad education.
"We have almost 1,800 students that study abroad every year and we have finished a very comprehensive strategic plan to increase the number of students participating in study abroad to 3,000 in the next few years," Sweedler said.