Meet the new Assistant Vice President of International Affairs, Michelle Reina!

Dr. Michelle L. Reina is an accomplished educator, scholar, and international business professional with a rich background in academia and extensive experience in global education. Dr. Reina has dedicated her career to fostering cross-cultural understanding and international cooperation. With fluency in English and Spanish, she has immersed herself in diverse cultural settings, from leading study abroad trips in Europe and Latin America to teaching English and Spanish in countries like Colombia, Mexico, and Lithuania. Dr. Reina’s expertise extends beyond the classroom as she has served in leadership roles such as Assistant Vice President of International Affairs at Concordia University Wisconsin & Ann Arbor and as a Professor of Management & International Business at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor. Her commitment to international education is evident in her numerous presentations, publications, and memberships in professional organizations such as Nasbite International and NAFSA. Dr. Reina’s passion for global learning and her dedication to student success make her a valuable asset to any academic institution or international initiative.

What brought you to Concordia?

I felt called to Concordia and was excited about what was happening in international education here – from the growing number of international students to the programming sponsored by the Concordia International Center.

Among the other higher ed international programs in the state, what does Concordia do uniquely?

Concordia Wisconsin currently has more international students than any other private university in Wisconsin. This is a testament to the excellent work of our international admissions team. 

When did you get “the bug” for a love all things international?

I took an International Relations (political science) course at UW-Whitewater during the end of the Cold War. The course covered the SALT talks, GATT, and other international topics. That class led me to choose an International Studies major. I also had the opportunity to travel to Russia with an economics professor shortly after the fall of the Soviet Union. That was a fascinating and eye-opening trip. I experienced firsthand how study abroad can impact learning. As a faculty member I tried to offer my students similar experiences – in class and during study abroad.

What was your first international travel experience?

My first international experience was as an undergraduate study abroad student in Mexico. 

Do you speak another language(s)? If so, what and was it hard to learn?

I speak Spanish fluently. I’ve lived in Mexico and Colombia. My husband is Colombian, and Spanish is our home language.

Which countries have you visited?

I’ve visited over 50 countries in Europe, Latin America, and Africa, and have lived for extended periods in Mexico, Colombia, Kenya, and Italy.

What do you think are the most important lessons others could gain from being with people of another culture?

International travel fosters open-mindedness, flexibility, and global awareness. These are all important skills in the 21st century workplace.

What’s a place that’s on your bucket list to visit?

One of the top places on my bucket list is New Zealand. I’ve hiked the Inca Trail in Peru and would love to hike the Tongariro Alpine Crossing (aka the trail to Mordor) in New Zealand. 

What advice or call to action would you give to current CUW or CUAA students based in Ann Arbor or Mequon?

Be bold. Be adventurous. Grab every opportunity to travel that is offered to you. 

Want in?

We know it takes courage to step into a new world, and that’s why we’re here — not just to guide you through the process, but to help you grow in mind, body, and spirit. Click on the link below to learn more.