International Engagement

The Office of International Engagement helps to bring the world to Wilkes - and Wilkes to the world - sharing in each other’s languages, cultures and people.

With the ongoing support of the Wilkes community, the Office of International Engagement will move forward with our mission to advance the University’s internationalization efforts by:

  • identifying opportunities,
  • expanding Wilkes’ presence abroad, and
  • facilitating multi-dimensional partnerships.

Our first unique exchange program, started in 2016, has already brought Panamanian students, teachers and dignitaries to Wilkes and hosted members of the University community in Panama.

Student Testimonials

Daniel Acosta

Wilkes University was an unexpected experience in my life.

I always was looking for a exchange experience and finally, in my last semester of the career program, that took place. I am a Civil Engineering student, I knew that at Wilkes they don't have this program in list, but I took the risk. It was a challenge for me because even my English was not very good. At the beginning I was struggling with that, trying to understand the class, the students and I got very frustrated. Then, I found a lot of help and support at the International Engagement Office and I start to enjoy my experience. I start to feel free to talk with other people, to meet different people from different countries without fear. In addition, the same things happened with my class, I started to participate more in class, talk a little bit more with professors. 

One of the most important things I did at Wilkes, was the cultural experience playing clarinet in the Wilkes University Chamber Orchestra. We made a wonderful concert at the end of the program playing the beautiful Mozart's Symphony 40.

Furthermore, another important and amazing thing was the research I did with Dr. Holly Frederick, Dr. Nelson Anaya and Dr. Karimi about Landslides in Luzerne County. That research means for me a lot of knowledge because I could continue the same procedures in Panama to develop my thesis project for the senior project.

Wilkes University changed my life. I am definitely not the same person. I improved a lot of skills and I wish a lot of students can live this kind of experiences.

Thanks Wilkes University.  

Elaine Cortes

Experience at Wilkes University with 100k Strong in the Americas

I want to begin by thanking all the persons involved in this beautiful program and experience, which has taught and showed me even more than what I have expected. Being at Wilkes University has been the first international scholar experience I have had in all my life and I cannot be happier of what I have gained from it. The first moment I knew about this opportunity I felt very nervous but also very excited of what I could accomplish in Wilkes.

My major goal coming here was to demonstrate to myself that I can do and accomplish anything with challenging work and perseverance. I gladly and proudly end the semester at Wilkes University with great comments from all my professors: Dr. Murthy, Dr. Frederick, Dr. Bruns, Dr. Anaya and Dr. Karimi, which I have considered all my mentors since day one at Wilkes University. The support and availability in helping me whenever was possible made me feel very comfortable at Wilkes facilities.

In my stay at Wilkes University I had first time big experiences like:

  • the GPS trip to the Old Woman Creek National Estuarine were we learned not only to use distinct functions in a GPS unit but to interpret what was happening in the estuary that enhanced its natural behavior.
  • Water Samples at the Huntsville Creek near Hillside Farms with Dr. Anaya and Dr. Frederick, where I learned how to obtain water samples, measure turbidity, conductivity dissolved oxygen and temperature.
  • Create a 2D water Chemistry Map as my final project for GPS with the help of Dr. Karimi.

These above experiences are just a several among a great amount of learning that I have acquired been in Wilkes University. The lab and field experience has been very satisfactory with the availability of modern technology that facilitates studies and prepares students for the everyday advancing technological world.

My experience at Wilkes has greatly been more than just studies. I have had the pleasure to meet beautiful places in and around Pennsylvania. I was able to go to New York, Washington DC, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Buffalo, Niagara Falls and those just to mention a few. I was able to experience my first-time river rafting, picnics, Knoebels amusement park… and the list keeps going on. All this in just 4 months of my stay in Wilkes, Amazing! Truly it has been the most grateful experience I have ever had in all my life until now. I learned about history of all the different cities I went, and I have shared this experience with new friends that I meet at Wilkes university, not only Americans but people all over the world: Russia, Saudi Arabia, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ukraine, England, and many other countries. Sharing time with them, learning about their culture and seeing that we all have the same joyful soul just with different traditions is what makes this experience beautiful.

They told me “what you think that can be improved for future international students at Wilkes University?”, being the most honest possible I really cannot find a single thing that can be improved. Everything has been given to us, the food, the comfortable housing, the trips, the different activities that can be found around the campus every day, my great professors, great classmates…I really can’t say anything than: You guys are doing great, keep doing exactly what you are doing!

With this, I end saying that I leave Wilkes University with just how proud I am to be a Colonel. Thank you once again for absolutely everything,

Danna Villarreal

My name is Danna Villarreal, I am 22 years old and undergraduate environmental engineering student in Panama.

I participated to won the scholarship of the program 100k Strong in the Americas, which Wilkes University and Universidad Tecnologica de Panama (UTP) applied and won. I got selected and travel from August 20th to December 21st of 2017. This experience was to study a complete semester with regular Wilkes University students, in other words, an exchange for the fall semester. I took four different classes, which I interacted with Americans and international students and professors. Where they demonstrated how polite, kindness, their cultural they are. Always attend to us, my classmates and professors. Also, I participated in many activities as camping with the adventure team, Jim Thorpe railroad trip with global diversity, assisted to an American football game and swimming meets, and the multicultural nights. The last one was the most shock for me, because students from different parts of the World performed their traditional dancing. So, I realized how English language and Wilkes united all kind of people. On the other hand, I made the best friendships with the most adorable guys, which are international students. They taught me how to support one to each other and made me realize how different our culture is. Finally, The international engagement office, where they make an excellent job by always taking care of us and made of all this possible. And I can totally confirm, this is my best life experience!

During this semester, I realize that I accomplish more than my expectations in Wilkes University. I afford the learning of my different classes, the interaction with Americans and international students, the experience the independent living and make long-lasting friendships. I was an active participating in my classes, obtain good grades, meet with Wilkes University alumni on a mentor’s night and went to field trips to Water Treatment Plant, Waste Water treatment plant and a Recycling Plant. As cultural activities, I assist to football game and swimming meets, Duwali night, Multicultural Panamanian and Multicultural Student Coalition activities, Saturdays International Engagement activities, International Student Services activities, camping with the Outdoor Adventure Club of Wilkes University and travel to different cities with my international friends. My favorite cultural activity was the last multicultural student coalition, because student from different part of the World performed their native dancing and that provide me how proud they are of their roots and how Wilkes is full of diversity connected by the same language that made possible this type of interaction. I would said that I was the lucky girl at meet so nicely and lovely people in United States. Sometimes I think they selected the perfect people and drop them in Wilkes. It was amazing how my classmate treat me, always available for me when I had doubts. I felt a little sad, due to the little time we hangout as friends. It was at the end of the semester that I came closer to them because of group projects. For Americans friends outside my class, it happened the same, we did not have enough time to spend together, but I got the best memories and appreciate all the activities that we have done together as camping, lunch and dinner at the cafeteria, parties, support them in sports games. In addition, I won the lottery by meeting a Saudi Arabia and a Russian guys. Never cross by my mind that three people from different continents would take care of them as we did this couple of months. It was just amazing and a learning experience to me, how to deal with different religion by seeing my friend praying on the floor and the privation of eating pork and drinking alcohol. For my other friend, was hard to stablish a conversation with him at the beginning due to different culture and personalities. At the end was successful how our friendship evolve and we learned to empathize for one to another. The support that gave the different people to me was amazing, not only by the different international offices, also from my international friends, Americans friends and professors. Certainly, I can say this is the best experience of my life so far. I am feeling very pleasure for all the people how helped from Panama to come here, the people who helped me being here and for giving me the time to spend it with me. Thank you!