Spring 2016


You may have already heard that there are new colleagues in the International Center. The Study Abroad Office moved into the International Center in late December, as part of a restructure to better utilize existing staff and to increase the synergy between the areas. I am very pleased to welcome Mitch Lawson, Director of Study Abroad and IC Associate, and Vicki McDonald, IC Administrative Assistant, to the International Center team. This means that the International Center now has three areas (De LaSalle Language Institute, International Student Services, and Study Abroad) sharing its physical space in the Heights and new opportunities to collaborate with programming, and to integrate international students studying at Saint Mary’s and domestic students looking to study abroad. We look forward to developing a new International Week next fall semester and working with others across the university to enhance international understanding and the student experience at Saint Mary’s. If you haven’t been over to the Heights, it’s a short walk; come visit!

Tracy Lehnertz, MA
Associate Dean for International Programs

students talking

Around the World in 10 Tables
As a part of Multicultural Week, international students from China, Nicaragua, Poland, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Taiwan, and Vietnam had the opportunity to share their history, culture, food, and talents with SMU’s community. This event was a great experience for administrators, faculty, and domestic students to learn about different cultures without traveling abroad.

students studying

Students in Dr. Karen Sorvaag’s Advanced Literacy Methods for Diverse Learners course have teamed up with DLI students this semester for a mutually beneficial partnership. In addition to observing ESL classes, the ED 445 students are working one-on-one with international students in order to provide assistance with their development of English language skills necessary for living and studying at SMU. While these future K-8 educators are experiencing what it’s like to work with students from different cultural and language backgrounds, DLI students are gaining much appreciated assistance with not only their formal coursework but also their ability to navigate successfully through a new social and academic life in the U.S.

MaryKaye Perrin

A familiar face has returned. MaryKaye Perrin, former DLI director and instructor, has returned to teaching ESL. MaryKaye is temporarily substituting for ESL instructor, Jane Cyrus. For the past several weeks, Jane has been recovering from a broken ankle. However, with MaryKaye’s past experience and her love of teaching, the DLI students are in great hands. The International Center truly appreciates MaryKaye’s assistance and wishes Jane a speedy recovery.


Saint Pierre

Saint Mary’s University is partnering with other U.S. Lasallian colleges and universities to offer a new short-term program this May. The course, Theology 260 - Foundations in Catholic Theology: Christian Faith and the Arts, is being offered for the first time this spring and concludes with a 10 day trip to Rome and Assisi in May. This program will be offered again next fall with travel from December 26-January 7. More information is available on the Study Abroad Website, applications for next fall's program are due March 18.

Brother Francisco Boniche

We are delighted to introduce Brother Francisco Boniche, who has been a Christian Brother since 1999. He studied for his Baccalaureate in Sciences and Letters in his home country of Nicaragua. He continued his studies to become a high school teacher specializing in math and physics and received a degree in religious sciences. His work experience is extensive, as he has worked full-time in education for 13 years. He has taught math, chemistry, philosophy and physics at the high school level, and he has been the principal of two schools, one in Nicaragua and one in Guatemala. He has also worked supporting the religious formation of children and youth by organizing retreats and missions to help the poor.

When asked what brought him to Winona, he stressed his devotion to the Christian Brothers’ mission:
“De La Salle Christian Brothers is an international congregation, so learning many languages is very necessary. The congregation, in the latest years, has insisted that Brothers have to be without borders; consequently, the Brothers need studies and formation in order to serve, especially to the poor and needy people around the world. As a Christian Brother, I am a member of the District of “Central America-Panamá." The Brothers from my District are interested in the educational development of those countries in different levels, like higher education. This year I am studying English at Saint Mary’s because this is one step, or door, to getting another degree. Some American Brothers from the Midwest District recommended I come to Saint Mary’s in order to have a new university experience and learn the language in the United States."

We owe those Brothers a big “thank you” for sending Brother Francisco to the De La Salle Language Institute as he is making great progress in his English studies which will help him achieve his future goals.

“I want to pursue advanced studies in technology, and if possible, in the United States or in some other country. Recently, the Brothers of the Central American-Panamanian District opened a university of technology in Nicaragua, with the goal of preparing engineers who stimulate technological development in the country and in the region. Therefore, short and medium term studies are needed for Brothers in technological areas that could support this project or other projects for the development of children and youth. Central America is a region of great inequality, creating a lack of opportunity for many people. Following the teachings of the Founder, St. Jean Baptist De La Salle, Brothers want to be God’s instrument, providing hope to those who have less.”

As for a final thought about what he wants others to know about Nicaragua, he shares an optimistic outlook of what should happen everywhere, not only in his country:
“Nicaragua is a small country in Central America. I know that many people from the United States visit there every year to help people in need and at the same time enjoy the nature of the country. I think exchange is very valuable and helps others to build friendships in a world that sometimes tends to separate us.”

group of students

The International Center organized an overnight trip during spring break to the Twin Cities. The group, comprised of 9 students, visited the Global Market, Mall of America, and the Minneapolis Science Museum on February 24 - 25th.