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d a o r b A y Stud rnational Programs and Ser vices A Newsletter from the Center for Inte

Spring 2014

What a Semester in Morocco Taught Me

Important Dates

By Mai Orsino

April 2 Fulbright Program Workshop 1:00 – 2:00 p.m. · UC Senate Chambers (Room 261)

I recently graduated from the University of Memphis with a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and History with a minor in International Studies. I spent my final semester studying abroad in Ifrane, Morocco, with the help of the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship among other scholarships. This wasn’t my first study abroad trip but there was something about Morocco that got me thinking about my history and myself. I was born in a refugee camp in Thailand. My mother was one of the many displaced persons due to the Vietnam War. Eventually we moved back to Vietnam once the remnants of the war had settled. From there, I lived on my grandfather’s farm until my mother sent me off to a Catholic boarding school somewhere in the city. My family immigrated to America in 1999. Richmond, Virginia, was our first stop but after living there for about six months, we realized that Richmond was not the right place for a struggling immigrant family; thus, we took the train down to Memphis, Tennessee. Pushing through one family setback after another, I graduated high school at White Station High a year early and applied to the University of Memphis. Four years later and 21 years from that Thai refugee camp, I graduated Magna Cum Laude as a double major and a minor with University Honors and to top that off, a senior thesis on “The Social Construction of French Identity: Re-Examining the French Debate on Muslim Integration.” During my studies at the University of Memphis, I had the opportunity to spend spring break of my junior year studying Afro- Brazilian history and culture in Salvador, Brazil, thanks to the Study Abroad (Cont’d on next page)

March 1 Summer, Fall and Academic Year Program and Scholarship Application Deadlines

April 9 Critical Language Scholarship Workshop 1:00 – 2:00 p.m. · UC Senate Chambers (Room 261) April 16 Boren Scholarship Workshop 1:00 – 2:00 p.m. · UC Senate Chambers (Room 261) March 20 Holi Festival of Colors Hosted by the International Student Association 3:00 p.m. · UC Lawn Traditionally observed in India and Nepal, this will be a celebration of love and colors. April 18 Summer Pre-departure Orientation 1:00 p.m. · UC Ballroom April 25 Fall & Academic Year Pre-departure Orientation 1:00 p.m. · UC Senate Chamber (Room 261) August 1 Early Spring Semester & Winter Break Scholarship Application Deadlines

You can also keep up with important dates and the latest news at

An Internship in China By Decorian Williams Small opportunities present themselves throughout life and serve as a stepping stone for a brighter future. This summer I had the opportunity to intern with Shanghai Real Estate, a real estate advisory and investment firm located in Shanghai China with over 100 real estate professionals. Founded in 1998, Shanghai Real Estate main business focus is on upscale properties, including villas, lane houses, apartments, serviced apartments and Class A office buildings. In 2005 Shanghai Real Estate became an affiliate of China Vanke Co., Ltd, the largest residential developer in China. During the course of my internship I was able to learn how to effectively apply business concepts and theories to real-world decision-making in an international setting. I was also able to develop and improve my business skills in communication, technology, quantitative reasoning, and teamwork. My responsibilities with the company varied throughout my internship. My main role was that I was responsible for gathering information that would enable the company to create a Financial and Market Analysis of Shanghai’s current investment market. Shanghai China’s most populated city is viewed as one of the most mature and most liquid markets in China, strong in all sectors. The market insight that I have gained from participating in this internship will be very substantial to my future career. My internship successfully emphasized and concretized many of the topics discussed in the Finance and Real Estate curriculum. I believe my experience in China has definitely given me a better understanding of my

Visit to Shanghai Wild Animal Park

skill set and where my career may take me, but most importantly I believe this experience has equip me with the tools I need to build my professional identity.

(Cont’d from front page) department at Memphis. Later in my academic career, I received a Gilman scholarship which helped fund my semester at Al Akhawayn University in Morocco. My semester in Morocco was interesting to say the least. First of all, it snowed most of the time that I was there. I saw more snow in Africa than I did in Memphis! Morocco sparked something inside of me that really made me contemplate my identity and childhood. Living and studying in Morocco placed me back in a developing country similar to the Vietnam that I left in 1999. I was back in a country where the rich are Richie Rich and the poor are beyond poor. I was back urinating in holes in the ground. I was back in a country where hospitals where limited (the nearest hospital to where I was living was an hour away) and mid-wives were still vogue. I was back in a country where unemployment is high and literacy rates are low. However, studying in Morocco made me realize how blessed I am that I was able to escape it all. I also realized something else, something that I’ve struggled with for a long time. I never kept in touch with my so-called past life in Vietnam and Thailand but about four months into Morocco, I decided that I would like to go back and visit Vietnam. For years, multiple people asked if I had any interest in going back to Vietnam and my answer was always the same: “No. Not really. Vietnam has nothing to offer me.” After studying abroad in Morocco, I recognized how wrong I was - Vietnam has plenty to show and teach me. I don’t think I would truly know myself and would always feel a missing piece if I don’t go back to Vietnam. I’ve come a long way from that little kid running around catching dragonflies in Thailand to becoming a college graduate. I couldn’t have made it to my current position if it wasn’t for Multi-National Ministries, the University of Memphis Study Abroad Department, and the Gilman International Program. As one chapter of my life closes, so another one begins but this time, it is my time to give back in the same way that others have participated in mine. ShukranMerci - Gracias to everyone who has played such a big part of in my life thus far...and.... the journey continues.

Tigers Abroad Photo Contest By Jonathan Holland, Study Abroad Advisor The Tigers Abroad photo contest is held in recognition of International Education Week every November. University of Memphis students who studied abroad are encouraged to apply. Entries are judged on the ability to convey a cross-cultural experience in a single photograph. A cross-cultural experience can be defined as the portrayal of the essence of the student’s study abroad experience. Participants may only enter one photo and the photo must be taken by the individual. All photos are accompanied with a text describing the cross-cultural component of the photo. Submissions are judged by a committee of University members. Entries are displayed in the rotunda of the Ned R. McWherter Library during International Education Week in November each year. First, second, and third place winners receive travel vouchers. This year’s winners included the following: Thien-Khoi Phung – 1st prize, Natalie Cole – 2nd Prize, Nicole Robbins – 3rd Prize.

Thien-Khoi Phung, Fairy Glen Safaris, South Africa Admiring elephants on a safari was the furthest from what I expected I could experience in college as engineering major. The elephant embodies a sense of peace that very much reflects the recent political revolution of South Africa, making it such a unique cultural token of the country.

Natalie Cole, Florence, Italy While Florence, Italy is home to many museums, housing some of the greatest works of art known to man, it was most fascinating to me that on any given day, the general public, myself included, could see stunning works of art by street artists for free by simply walking through the city, no museum pass needed.

Nicole Robbins, Rome, Italy After taking in the beautiful St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican, a group of students I was traveling with took the subway back to the hotel in Rome. Two kids, with their father also riding the train, were very curious about how “American” our group seemed to “look”. As two seats opened up after a few stops, the boy and his sister raced to the seat to be the first not to sit directly next to Marvin. The young boy clearly was upset over the loss of the seat and attempted to throw a fit. After no reaction from his father, the Roman boy remained very skeptical of the person who was Marvin, the African American male student traveling abroad in Italy from The University of Memphis. As a photographer, I couldn’t help but capture such a unique interaction between these two cultures sitting right next to each other.

Discover The Republic of Korea and Study in English By Rebecca Laumann, Director of Study Abroad

long-standing commitment to international education and offer excellent student support services. U.S. students enrolled at any of these universities often enroll in Korean language courses for foreigners, as well as courses in many areas of study that are taught in English Students interested in studying in South Korea also have a choice of varied environments: Seoul (three urban campuses in the bustling capital); Suwon (one campus in this dynamic suburb of Seoul); and Keimyung Univeristy in Taegu (South Korea's third largest city and the gateway to some of the country's most important historical monuments and archaeological sites).

Kayla Billings and friends

University of Memphis students may also study at our partner institution, Korea University – Sejong (KUS). Students interested in the KUS program have an opportunity to participate in the International Town

Who said you have to know how to speak Ko-

at Sejong Program (ITS) which provides students with

rean or be an Asian Studies Major to study in South

a unique cultural immersion experience as well as

Korea? In fact, you do not need any of the above

financial assistance. Students selected to participate

in this program enroll in a Korean language and

prerequisites to qualify for studying abroad in South

culture course in addition to six credit hours of regular

Korea. Even if you do not speak Korean or specialize

courses taught in English. Participants live in a triple

in Asian Studies, there are several reasons why you

occupancy dormitory with South Korean roommates

should consider South Korea as one of your top

and participate in conversation sessions with them. In

destinations to study abroad.

exchange, participants receive free accommodations,

South Korea is a beautiful country enveloped

a meal plan, and a partial reimbursement of their

in lots of greenery and mountains. Visitors to Korea

airfare from the U.S.

enjoy its rich cultural heritage as well as striking archi-

For those who prefer to study on a more short-term

tectural temples, monuments and parks.

basis, there are six-week summer programs offered

If you are serious about academics, then South

at Ajou and Yonsei University usually from the end of

Korea is an ideal study abroad destination for you to

June to early August. The programs offer field trips,

consider. South Korea is renowned for its passion for

language study, and other activities that are unique

education and University of Memphis students who

to the region.

opt to study in South Korea will have the opportunity to enroll in a highly-ranked institution. As members of the International Student

To read about a student’s experiences at KUS, check out the following blogs

Exchange Program (ISEP), University of Memphis

by University of Memphis students:

students can study in Korea by applying to one of

Tasnim Kazzaz’s “Seoul Searching”

the ISEP member schools in Korea: Ajou University, Ewha Womans University, Korea University, and

at http://neverknownexactly. and Kayla Billings’

Yonsei University. These universities are among the

“Four Months in Korea” at

top ten most prestigious universities in South Korea.

They are very distinct in character, but they all have a

The Global Race The Global Race is held in recognition of International Education Week. Teams of University of Memphis students compete in the Global Race for a chance to win a scholarship toward a U of M study abroad program. The teams race across campus completing ten challenges that test their international knowledge. This year’s winners included first place (tie) - Adam Casey, Taylor Jones, & Ryan Estes; first place (tie) - Megan Zarshenas, Daniel Sullins, & Ashley Hisky; and second place Evan Frazier & Luke Hurst.

Scholarship Opportunities for Study Abroad By Carissa Hoitenga, Study Abroad Advisor Studying abroad is truly a priceless experience. The knowledge, personal growth, and global understanding you will walk away with is worth more than money could ever buy. Despite this fact, we know that program cost is an important consideration when selecting a program, and the availability of scholarships and financial aid significantly helps students afford such an amazing experience. Some possible funding options are below. If you would like to learn more about what funding options apply to your individual situation, meet with a study abroad advisor and we can point you in the right direction. Use your current financial aid to help fund a study abroad program! • Memphis Academic scholarships • Pell Grant • Hope Scholarship (possible summer Hope option) • Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans (If you have to take loans out, you might as well use them to see the world!) • Private Student Loans Or apply to receive one of the following: University of Memphis Study Abroad Scholarship This scholarship provides funding amounts of $1000 for summer, $2000 for semester, and $3000 for academic year study abroad programs! Gilman Scholarship This scholarship is offered through the Department of State, and it is open to any student receiving a Pell grant. The goal of the Gilman is to increase diversity in study abroad. (Diversity is very broadly defined.) It is competitive, though we do have students receive this each year. We offer workshops each semester on how to submit a competitive application. Mary Pettus Thomas Memorial Scholarship This scholarship is for foreign languages majors who are Junior standing (60 credit hours), have a 3.0 GPA, demonstrate financial need, and have a letter of support from a faculty member the department foreign languages. Morgan Morton Student Travel Fund This fund provides scholarships to students who have a major in Fogelman College. Bridging Scholarship This scholarship offers funding towards semester or academic year study abroad programs in Japan. Boren Scholarship This scholarship is for students who would like to work with government agencies that work to support U.S. national security. It is competitive. Program Provider Scholarships Some of our provider programs offer scholarships that students attending the program may apply to. These are competitive, but we do have students receive these. Other scholarships may be available depending on an individual student’s goals, career focus, major, and GPA. Visit to see our list or schedule an appointment with a study abroad advisor to find out what is available to you!

U of M Study Abroad Launches Wiki Site By Jonathan Holland, Study Abroad Advisor The University of Memphis (U of M) study abroad program has recently developed and launched a wiki page. A Wiki is a website developed collaboratively by a community of users, allowing any user to add and edit content. The purpose of this wiki is to give past participants of U of M Study Abroad Programs a platform to provide information and advice they feel is valuable to potential and future program participants. This information includes how to pack, culture, what to see and do, travel advice, how to navigate the city, how to prepare for coursework and more. The goal of the wiki page is to serve as a tool to help better prepare students for their study abroad experience. To view the U of M Study Abroad Wiki Page visit

Faculty Spotlight A conversation with Associate Professor Robin Roach, MPH, EdD, RDN of the Department of Health and Sport Sciences, Nutrition Program position at The University of Memphis, my first agenda item was to develop a nutrition study abroad opportunity in Belize! Over the next 10 years, I was able to offer a course of study in Belize that focused on traditional Belizean nutritional practices. This took us to medicinal trails in the rainforest, visits with village shaman, and to cashew farms. It began my ongoing commitment to facilitate international study opportunities.

How has your career afforded you the opportunity to travel abroad? The Belizean experience led to others. Now with some logistic experiences in planning and leading study abroad programs, my colleague from Shanghai, China, and I launched a short-term study abroad opportunity to Shanghai focused on traditional Chinese nutrition and health practices. Dr. Yuhua Li continues to offer this course every few years. Additional international connections, several facilitated by Rebecca Laumann, Director, Study Abroad at The University of Memphis, have resulted in opportunities to lead more recent short-term programs in Costa Rica, Switzerland, and Italy.

Robin Roach with Students - Tuscany, Italy Please tell us about yourself and your position at the University of Memphis (U of M). After directing the undergraduate dietetics program for over 20 years, I am particularly excited to now be directing our new (since Fall 2013) Master’s Degree Concentration in Environmental Nutrition. The Environmental Nutrition concentration looks at the impact of nutrition practices on the environment and vice versa. Our new graduate students are a diverse group with backgrounds not only in nutrition, but also in the biological and social sciences, education, and health- all with interests in sustainable food, nutrition, and agricultural issues.

What is your role in study abroad here at the U of M? I have developed and led short-term study abroad programs focused on traditional and alternative food, nutrition, and health practices since the late 1990’s. Courses have taken place in Belize, China, Costa Rica, Switzerland, and Italy.

Please tell us about your first experience with study abroad. In 1995 I was fortunate to receive a Fulbright Scholarship to Belize, Central America. Teaching nutrition at the Belize School of Nursing and conducting a national food intake study with the Pan American Health Organization enabled me to travel throughout the country. Upon returning to my faculty

Do you feel a study abroad experience is important for students at the U of M? Almost exclusively my students say their study abroad experiences sit at the top of their lists for the most meaningful, significant learning experiences in their college careers. We provide all of the appropriate academic readings, contact time, evaluations, etc. required of an academic- study abroad program, but I’m convinced the international experiences that stretch us, surprise us, and create dialogue are why this type of learning is uniquely valued. It is a privilege to be involved with the Study Abroad Program at The University of Memphis. In recent years their assistance with program development and financial support of students has streamlined many processes and enabled more student participation.

U of M Students Awarded External Scholarships for Study Abroad for Spring 2014 Congratulations to Alex Gailbraith, Lisa Gibson, Jacob Riddle, and Bradley Starnes for winning the prestigious Gilman Scholarship for Study Abroad! Alex Galbraith of Brownsville, Tenn., is ma-

The Gilman program encourages students to choose non-traditional study destina-

joring in Asian Studies and International Trade

tions, especially those outside of Western Europe, Australia and New Zealand. The

and business economics. He will study at

program supports students who may be unlikely to study abroad, including those

Shanghai University of Finance and Economics

with financial need, community college students, those in underrepresented fields

in Shanghai, China. The son of LeAnn Beck

such as the sciences and engineering, students with diverse ethnic backgrounds,

and Kurt Galbraith, his career goal is to serve

and those with disabilities. Recipients are chosen by a competitive selection

as the U.S. ambassador to China. Alex has also

process and must use the award to pay for eligible study abroad costs. Those costs

been awarded the Alliance Scholarship for

include program tuition, room and board, books, local transportation, insurance and

Global Education Abroad.

international airfare.

Lisa Gibson, a biomedical engineering major from Memphis, will study electrical engineering at Hochschule Ulm in Ulm, Germany. She is the daughter of Roger Gibson and Susan

For more information regarding this scholarship please go to Programs/Gilman-Scholarship-Program or contact the study abroad office at

Gibson. Her career goal is to do research and development in the industry as a biomedical engineer. Gibson plans to specialize in bioelectricity by combining electrical engineering with biomedical engineering. Jacob Riddle of Memphis is majoring in Computer Engineering, Japanese, and Asian Studies and International Trade. He will be studying at Meiji University in Tokyo, Japan, in Spring 2014 and Fall 2015. The son of Time and Pam Riddle, it is his goal to be a Commissioned Officer in the United States Navy. Bradley Starnes, a French major from Memphis, will attend the Catholic University of Lille in Lille, France. He is the son of Jimmy and

Congratulations to Dylan Turner for winning the CEA Global Education

Scholarship! Dylan Turner, a psychology major from Munford, TN will attend the CEA program in Alicante, Spain. He is the son of Glenn and Stacey Turner. He plans to eventually become an orthopedic surgeon. CEA is an organization partnered with the U of M that administers study abroad programs all over the world. CEA scholarships are open to all CEA program participants who meet the eligibility requirements. Its objective is to aid a wide range of students in subsidizing the cost of their study abroad program.

Margaret Starnes. His career aim is to teach French.

The University of Memphis, a Tennessee Board of Regents institution, is an Equal Opportunity/ Affirmative Action University. It is committed to education of a non-racially identifiable student body. UOM335-FY1314/2C50. Peerless Printing.

STUDY ABROAD PROGRAM 102 Brister Hall Memphis, TN 38152 901.678.2814 /studyabroadmemphis @memphisabroad

Study Abroad - Spring 2014 Newsletter  

The Spring 2014 newsletter of the Study Abroad program at the University of Memphis. For more information, visit

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