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BHSU welcomes Pakistani and Tunisian students through IREX, Department of State partnership

Author: BHSU Communications/Monday, April 15, 2019/Categories: Students, Students in the News, College of Business and Natural Sciences, College of Education and Behavioral Sciences, College of Liberal Arts, Community, Psychology, 2019

Black Hills State University welcomed students from Pakistan and Tunisia this academic year thanks to a new collaboration with the International Research & Exchanges Board (IREX) and the U.S. Department of State.

The program promotes a better understanding of the U.S. abroad, particularly among future world leaders, by facilitating study at a U.S. college or university for talented, highly motivated undergraduate students.

According to Eric Leise, director of International Relations and Global Engagement at BHSU, “The goal of the program is to equip international students with an experience in the U.S. that is grounded in leadership and civic engagement.”

At BHSU, the IREX partnership brings added diversity to the student body, staff, and community while providing an opportunity to learn more about other countries and cultures.

“Our students have done a variety of things on campus from cultural programming to internships, being on the BUZZ FM student-run radio station, and making connections more broadly in the community,” Leise adds.

Participating students this semester are:
  • Aqeel, English literature major, Pakistan
  • Yosr Bouhoula, psychology major, Tunisia
  • Mariem Daghbouji, business administration major, Tunisia
  • Youssef Kaabi, business administration major, Tunisia
  • Saudah, business administration major, Pakistan
Several IREX students have contributed to revamping the BHSU International Student Organization and have helped organize events such as World Trivia Night and Residence Life programs. These events provide the opportunity for domestic students to expand their understanding and cultural awareness.

Mariem Daghbouji, a junior from Tunisia explains that each student has specific obligatory tasks to complete as a part of the disciplined organization of IREX. Students complete assignments each month and must be involved with different community leadership, art and music, and holiday celebration activities throughout their stay.

Daghbouji has an internship with BHSU Marketing & Communications this semester where she writes articles and assists with the University’s social media pages.

“From a professional aspect, I know more about my professional goals because of the internship that I have taken on,” Daghbouji says.

The organization and requirements of IREX really help map out the path for each participating student to make the most of their experience in the U.S., according to Daghbouji.
About BHSU International
BHSU is responding to the increased need for global education, both at home and abroad. Students have the opportunity to travel abroad to continue their studies for a semester or participate in an international service learning trip. Choosing to study abroad provides students opportunities to experience another culture while receiving a globalized education. The BHSU International Service Learning Program provides experiential education opportunities for students to address human and community needs through a short-term peer and faculty-accompanied international experience. For more information visit or contact the office at or 605-642-6254.
About the partnerships
The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) fosters mutual understanding between the people of the U.S. and the people of other countries. ECA programs promote friendly and peaceful relations, as mandated by the Mutual Educational and Cultural Exchange Act of 1961. ECA accomplishes its mission through a range of programs based on the benefits of mutual understanding, international educational and cultural exchange, and leadership development. ECA exchange program alumni encompass over one million people around the world, including more than 80 Nobel Laureates and more than 575 current and former heads of state and government. For more information about ECA exchanges, visit For press inquiries please email
The International Research & Exchanges Board (IREX) is a global development and education organization striving for a more just, prosperous, and inclusive world. With an annual portfolio of $80 million and 400 staff worldwide, IREX works with partners in more than 100 countries in four areas essential to progress: cultivating leaders, empowering youth, strengthening institutions, and increasing access to quality education and information. The UGRAD-Pakistan is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State with funding provided by the U.S. Government and administered by IREX. IREX also administers the Thomas Jefferson Scholarship Program in Tunisia. IREX also administers the Thomas Jefferson Scholarship Program in Tunisia. For more information about IREX, visit

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