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Going Global: Tier One Scholars Take Advantage of Studying Abroad
By Allison Monroe
December 6, 2012
Embarking on a study abroad journey opens the door to endless learning experiences for Tier One Scholars. Going abroad enables Scholars to become acquainted with different cultures and appreciate different ethnicities. Scholars can also gain practical experience through research and internships abroad. As University of Houston Tier One Scholars Advisor, Dr. Veronique Tran aimed to expose the plethora of benefits that studying abroad can have for Tier One Scholars by hosting a Study Abroad Showcase and Info Session.
“We want to provide Tier One Scholars with the opportunity to immerse themselves in a different culture because regardless of what career, or profession they end up pursuing, having that cross-cultural awareness and understanding is important to their success,” Dr. Tran said.
Several Tier One Scholars shared their experiences abroad at the Showcase event. Nicholas Pessarra, a 2010 Scholar majoring in creative writing and advertising, shared his experience about spending a summer abroad in Angers, France. The language immersion program allowed Nicholas to live with a host family and attend a local university where he took advanced French courses that counted as UH credit.
“It was just an eye-opening experience, learning about French history and oral communication. I had younger siblings for the first time in my life which was interesting – 8 and 10 year old boys and a 13 year old girl. The culture as a whole is so much different than here in America,” Pessara said.
Tier One Scholars Noy Shemer and Kelly Murfin produced a video that highlighted how much they enjoyed their study abroad experience in Northern Europe. Shemer and Murfin were able to explore several places including Amsterdam and Berlin.
“Going abroad has made me more aware of the importance getting to know different people on a deeper level. As college students, we need to learn how to interact and relate to people from different backgrounds and cultures. I’m now looking forward to possibly doing another study abroad trip in the future,” Shemer said.
At the event, study abroad program directors shared information about upcoming opportunities available to Tier One Scholars. Ms. Parul Fernandes, Director of the Study Abroad Office, discussed the benefits of studying abroad and presented resources about different types of programs. Also, Dr. Tom Behr, director of the liberal studies program at UH, spoke about a trip he will be leading to Rome, Italy and Heidelberg, Germany in June 2013. Faculty-led study abroad programs feature a group of students who are guided by a UH faculty member as they embark on a cultural learning experience to various destinations.
The Tier One study abroad experience is not just limited to studying. Michael Lenmark shared information about AIESEC, a program that primarily helps students in business and information technology disciplines find professional internships in countries such as China, Brazil, and Egypt. Scholars can also participate in research abroad such as the Global Health Research in Cote D’Ivoire, West Africa, led by Dr. Courtney Queen.
With full semester course loads and involvement in extra-curricular activities, some students may feel challenged to fit studying abroad into their schedules, but there is a program that works with each Scholar’s needs. Programs can range from 2 weeks to a full semester. Tier One Scholar Katie Teeters offered a few words of advice, “If there are any Tier One scholars that are hesitating to take advantage of this opportunity, I would encourage them to leap at this gift. Studying abroad adds depth to your college education as well as your understanding of other cultures,” Teeters said.
Tier One Scholars who are interested in taking advantage of the study abroad stipend should contact Dr. Tran, or Ms. Maria Saldana in the UH Study Abroad office. Whether the program is short-term or long-term, language immersion or faculty-led, Tier One Scholars can request their study abroad stipend at any time. Scholars are also encouraged to apply for additional study abroad scholarships leaving minimal out-of-pocket expenses for them.