This blog was written by Chris Kelly, associate vice president for university marketing and communication.
I’m not much of a traveler … but I want to be. When I think of traveling someplace new, I get a little anxious. Questions begin to arise in my mind like … Where should I stay? What if I get lost? Who should I call if I get into an accident?
It drives my wife crazy because she loves to get away. The weird thing is that once I get to a new destination, I seem to fall in love with the place and wonder why I didn’t leave sooner. I always seem to return with more knowledge and a deeper appreciation of life in southeast Kansas.
Perhaps it’s because of this that I admire those who travel abroad to study or teach. We’re very fortunate to have such a large population of international students on our campus. It’s not uncommon for folks on campus or in the community to strike up a conversation with someone from Japan, Costa Rica, or Saudi Arabia.
What’s less common is when local students or professors travel overseas for academic purposes. I’m not sure why. It’s probably a combination of time, finances and desire … Maybe they’re like me and get a bit worked up over the thought of traveling.
It’s because of this that the story of Professor Dean Cortes stood out to me.
Professor Cortes is the chair of the Department of Economics, Finance and Banking at Pittsburg State. He recently returned from a month-long stay in Baghdad, Iraq, where he took part in the USAID program designed to help Iraqi business schools rebuild and update both their facilities and curriculum. A full run-down of his experiences in Iraq is available here.
It takes something special to travel abroad and even more to commit to spending a significant amount of time in a foreign land. Dr. Cortes volunteered his time to help rebuild a country nearly 7,000 miles away, but the real beneficiaries will be his future students.
Through his experiences, and those of the hundreds of international students on campus, our Gorillas are better able to understand the global nature of our modern society. It’s one of the many benefits of attending Pittsburg State University … the ability to interact with and develop meaningful friendships with students from a variety of cultures.
It’s another reason why I love being a part of Pittsburg State University.
Pittsburg State Professor Dean Cortes prepares for his commute to Al Mansour University in Baghdad, Iraq.