Page 1

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

Fall 2013

A Semester in Shanghai, China BY LOI TA My time spent studying abroad turned out to be the greatest experience I have had thus far in my academic career. In the spring semester of 2013, I participated in the Alliance for Global Education study abroad program at Fudan University in Shanghai, China. I am a recent graduate of the University of Memphis with a B.S. in Biology. Each day was a new adventure that truly gave me a new outlook on life. People pushing on the train or bus during rush hour, walking a block to get cheap fried noodles or family-styled Sichuan dishes, bargaining in the markets, traveling with friends to new cities and reminiscing about our adventures over meals are just a few highlights of my experience in China. For four months, I resided in Shanghai, the city of the future. With its fast-paced economic prospects it had boundless educationVisiting Sun Yatsen’s al-advancement opportunities for a student Masoleum in Nanjing, China like me. I experienced the vibrant Shanghai nightlife and witnessed the sunrise over the famous Bund waterfront. I sampled authentic Chinese cuisine, including xiaolongbao (steamed buns), wontons, rice cakes, and delicious homemade pasta. With China’s convenient modern transportation system, my new friends and I set out to explore China’s 4,000 years history and numerous historical sites and sceneries. This included the rural life of the minorities in Yunnan, the Great Wall, the Forbidden City in Beijing, the Sun Yat-sen Mausoleum, the Naning Massacre Museum, and the numerous mesmerizing parks with blue lakes, pagodas, and blossoming roses in Hangzhou and Suzhou. These fascinating sites, the cuisine, and above all, the time I spent with my friends gave me a vivid, everlasting impression of China. Personally, I have an avid interest in the Chinese language and culture and my study abroad experience provided me an opportunity to appreciate my lost Chinese heritage that has been to some extent overshadowed by American culture. It was the opportunity to participate in an intensive Chinese language program with a focus on culture in such an exuberant city such as Shanghai that motivated me to apply for the Alliance for Global Education program in China. CONTINUED ON NEXT PAGE

Fall Semester 2013 Important Dates September 6, 1pm to 2:30pm UC Senate Room Gilman Scholarship for Study Abroad Workshop Session I September 18, 10am to 3pm Student Plaza (near the fountain) Study Abroad Fair September 20, 1pm to 2:30pm UC Senate Room Gilman Scholarship for Study Abroad Workshop Session II September 26, 11:30am to 12:30pm UC Beale Room Study Abroad Lunch & Learn Series: “Study Abroad 101” October 1 Winter Break & Spring Semester Program and Scholarship Application Deadlines October 11 Photo Contest Deadline October 22, 11:30am to 12:30pm UC Beale Room Study Abroad Lunch & Learn Series: Summer Language Programs November 15 UC Senate Chambers Fulbright Program Workshop November 15 Spring Break Scholarship Application Deadline November 19 from 11:30am to 12:30pm UC Beale Room Study Abroad Lunch & Learn Series: Study Abroad for Business and Economics November 18 to 22 International Education Week November 22 Brister Hall 102 The Amazing Race January 15 Spring Break Program Application Deadline

and dexterity, alleviates stress by soothing the mind, and improves attention to detail. Bargaining is an essential communication skill in China that challenges the customer to manipulate the manipulator — the sales clerk. I am ashamed to say that I became addicted to both.


During the second week of our stay in Shanghai, I along with other Alliance students pledged to only to speak Chinese for the duration of the program. I learned enough Chinese to effectively communicate with my friends and the locals. I initially embraced a “baby” method of communication. This consisted of using my finger to blindly point at items on the menu with all Chinese characters as a way to express, “I want this.” My primary goal was to order meals without using my finger. As it turned out, my education in Shanghai was beyond the scope of ordering a few dishes. I learned to articulate my views on complex topics such as the One-Child Policy, working conditions in China, and women’s rights. While in China, I also came to appreciate calligraphy as well as the art of bargaining. Calligraphy exercises requires patience, control,

Loi Ta with new friends in China

I recall a statement from the Alliance for Global Education website, “Living abroad isn’t a walk in the park, but it can be an incredibly challenging, rewarding, and ultimately a transformative experience.” Having completed the Alliance program in Shanghai, I now have a better understanding of China’s contemporary life, economy, philosophy, customs, and values. I made life-long friendships with my Alliance companions, and we will forever stay in contact for years to come. I cherish every moment spent abroad and will definitely revisit China in the future to perfect my Chinese language skills.

Don’t Believe Everything You Hear: Myths about Studying Abroad

in Chile? Additionally, many students can take 1-2 classes that may satisfy a general education requirement, such as a behavior science course or language course.


Myth: I won’t have time to study abroad in my degree plan.

You might be surprised to learn that studying abroad is more feasible than you think!

FACT: Fitting study abroad into your degree program is possible! The key is to plan early. Meet with a study abroad advisor your freshman or early sophomore year so that you have the most options open to you. If you are worried about missing a semester or if you realize you would like to study abroad towards the end of your degree program, there are many summer programs!

Myth: Studying Abroad is way too expensive. FACT: While there are programs that are expensive, there are also many programs that are affordable. In fact, there are many programs where the costs are about the same as attending U of M. Students can use many scholarships and financial aid such as the Hope Scholarship toward study abroad; furthermore, you can apply for the U of M’s study abroad scholarship! Myth: I can only study abroad in England or Australia because I don’t speak another language.

FACT: There are lots of programs in various countries that offer classes in English. Of course you can study in England or Australia, but there are many programs in Spain, France, Italy, Morocco, and China (to name just a few) that offer many courses in English. Myth:I can’t go abroad because there aren’t courses in my major. FACT: There are many course options when studying abroad and a large variety of possibilities. Did you know you can study accounting in Belize? Health Sciences in Costa Rica? Political Science or Journalism in Czech Republic? Economics in France? Music or Art in Austria? Gender and Human Rights

Myth: It’s just not worth it. All the forms, paperwork, and deadlines just seem so complicated. FACT: Studying abroad is one of the best investments you can make into your degree. Studying abroad is a process, but your study abroad advisor will guide you through the whole application. You are not on your own! Living abroad for a semester will dramatically impact your current studies, change your outlook on life, and make you stand out in the job search after you graduate. Want to learn more? Set up a meeting with a study abroad advisor today!

My Time in Memphis BY ELISE CECCOMARINI, EXCHANGE STUDENT FROM THE CATHOLIC UNIVERSITY OF LILLE, FRANCE I came to Memphis as a French exchange student during the fall 2012 term. My major is Foreign Languages with an emphasis on business and management and this is my last year as an undergraduate student. I had always wanted to study abroad in order to discover a new culture, new people, and new traditions… but also to have a unique experience in a foreign country on Elise Ceccomarini my own. Being abroad, away from friends and family was never easy but the people I met became part of my family. I also came to Memphis because I wanted to speak English fluently and the best way to learn a language is to learn in a native speaking country. My level in the language improved much faster than if I had studied English in a classroom in France. In coming to Memphis I had goals I wanted to achieve personally, academically and professionally. I took four classes: Italian (1010), Spanish (3301), Marketing (3010) and Hospitality and Resort Management. I wanted to do well in all these classes, no matter how difficult they were (I didn’t understand everything at the beginning of the semester and I also needed time to get used to the Memphis accent). After I got my grades (which were good), I was relieved and very proud of myself. Studying in the United States and in Memphis for four months gave me the capacity to speak English fluently: nowadays, English is an essential tool for professionals. Knowledge of any language is a plus and a real asset. In order to complete my degree, I have to do an internship. I am currently doing it at an International 5-star hotel in Andalusia (South of Spain) and I am sure I have been selected for this position due to my ability to speak two languages fluently. My experience at the U of M was one of the most exciting of my whole life. It made me grow up. I realized I could do whatever I wanted if I was motivated. I also met people who became good friends and I continue to stay in touch with. I also became more open-minded and disposed to discussing any topic. Besides academics, the U of M offers a lot of other activities on campus. Campus life is very active and I was never bored. The campus has a great sports complex with some events you can take part in. American students were very willing to help and integrated me into their group of friends. They were always offering to go somewhere or do something. The U of M was very welcoming and I became part of the campus community immediately.

Hanging out with friends Kayla and Lydia at The Peabody One of the best events I took part in was the exchange student orientation week because I had the opportunity to meet all of the other international students and talk to American students also. I also loved going to the football games at the Liberty Bowl and the basketball games at the FedEx Forum. I even enjoyed attending the REC Center for the Intramural tournaments because it was very representative of American culture. We always went to experience sporting events in groups and really enjoyed the moment (I have to admit I still don’t understand the American football’s rules… but I still have time to learn). I also attended my first Thanksgiving and I’m so excited I got to experience this tradition. I also enjoyed the surrounding areas of Memphis which are very beautiful. Everything I got out of the exchange program to the University of Memphis was very positive. I realize how lucky I am and recommend everyone to participate in an exchange program. I had some bad moments when I felt homesick, but I could always count on friends or professors for support. I enjoyed my stay and I am glad I took the initiative to participate in this program. Studying abroad was the best decision I have made and I encourage everyone to do it. You will make some of the best memories in your life.

University of Memphis Students Travel to Cuba BY JONATHAN HOLLAND, STUDY ABROAD ADVISOR Cuba is an island nation located in the Caribbean with a population of over 11 million. As a socialist republic under the leadership of Fidel and Raul Castro and the communist’s party since the late 1950’s, Cuba has different social and economic systems than the United States. Due to the Cold War and the political influence of Cuban exiles and their families residing in the United States, Cuba has had a virtual non-existent diplomatic and economic relationship with the United States for decades. For the first time during the 2012-2013 Academic Year, University of Memphis offered three study abroad programs to Cuba. This included a winter break program, “Afro-Cuban History & Culture” led by Professor Dennis Laumann of the Department of History; a spring break program, “Public Administration in Cuba” for graduate students led by Professor Sharon Wrobel of the department of Public and Nonprofit Administration; and a summer program, “Social Justice: Focus on Cuba” led by Professor Schiro-Geist from The Department of Counseling and Educational Psychology. You may have thought travel to Cuba was illegal. The United States has enforced an embargo on Cuba since 1962 which includes a ban on tourist travel under US law. However, under the Obama administration the US government now grants special travel licenses

to Cuba for US residents for various purposes which include educational programs and research. College students are among the few in the US who are legally allowed to travel to Cuba. Through the Study Abroad Program U of M students have an opportunity to visit and learn about a country that has different social and economic systems than the US and is virtually “untouched” by American influence.

A Memphis Graduate Student’s Experience in Cuba BY MARIANNE HARTQUIST The University of Memphis has helped me meet numerous educational and career goals. For the past six years I have worked in the Advancement Division and I am currently a Director of Development. I am pursuing a Master’s in Public Administration and certificate in Nonprofit Leadership through the School of Urban Affairs and Public Policy. One of my goals in earning this degree was to take advantage of unique classroom experiences. Within this program, I enrolled in a class that focused on the comparison of social policies in the United States and Cuba. The class met for five weeks online and in person, and culminated in a seven day trip to Cuba in March 2013. With federal travel restrictions, it is a rare occasion for Americans to visit Cuba. This made the trip all the more uncommon and attractive to me. Alongside 20 classmates and two faculty members, I was able to glean an understanding of the current political and social situations in Cuba. Over the course of a week, we compared various areas of social policy including health care, education, arts and culture, and housing. We were treated to a guest speaker each morning including a doctor who outlined the public healthcare system and an urban planner who

Marianne Hartquist gave an overview of the history of Cuba and the state of housing, city development, resourcefulness, and restoration. These morning conference sessions were important in helping us to understand the social situations in Cuba and to prepare us for what we would see and experience on our trip.

On our first day in Cuba, we exchanged currency (to the Convertible Peso also known as the CUC which is the tourist currency) and then traveled into Habana Vieja (Old Havana) for a walking tour by our guide Yuly. The Old Havana tour included a stroll through Plaza Vieja, Mercaderes Street, Plaza de Armas, and the Cathedral. We also viewed a large scale model of Old Havana. The 18th and 19th century architecture is beautiful, although crumbling from lack of resources to make repairs. Another highlight came on our second day when we visited the home and gallery of Jose Fuster, a local artist who was given the name “the Picasso of Cuba”. His home and the surrounding neighborhood were engulfed by his amazing mosaic style artwork. There were figures, statues, walls, gazebos, and sidewalks covered in his magnificent work. We were fortunate to be able to eat lunch here which included beans, rice, fish, lobster, veggies, beer, water, dessert, and espresso. This was a standard meal in Cuba, although quite abundant comparatively. From our visit to Callejon de Hammel, a street cultural center where we learned about the Afro-Cuban religion Santeria and a rhythmic drum and chanting session; to an evening at the Yellow Submarine, a local dive that featured American Music; to a performance by local artists at a performing arts center, we were treated to authentic Cuban music and expression like no other place many of us had traveled before. We visited the Literacy Campaign Museum located in an area that was once used to house Batista’s army. In 1960, Fidel informed the UN that he would eliminate illiteracy in Cuba in one year. The campaign reduced illiteracy from 26% to less than 3% in one year. To accomplish this goal, the Cuban government sent students from the city to live with farming families and the illiterate to teach them how to read and write. Newly literate Cubans were to write a letter to Fidel Castro informing him that they had “passed the test”. Professor Luisa Campus from the Pedagogical University is the Director of the Museum and gave us a tour. To this day, literacy remains at nearly 99% in Cuba - surely an accomplishment by our world’s standards. Throughout the week, our group interacted with Projecto Espiral, a community service

group of young professionals, and learned about the vastly different culture and lifestyle of the Cuban people. One of the highlights of our interactions with this group was when we gathered one evening for a frank, uncensored conversation on the relations between the United States and Cuba. These conversations were critical to exploring a range of topics within public administration. Moreover, it was important for the people of Projector Espiral and our group to find common ground despite our political divide. Near the end of our week, we traveled to Pinar del Rio where on the way we stopped at Las Terrazas, a biosphere reserve and national park in the Sierra del Rosario. Once we arrived in Pinar del Rio, we visited

a local tobacco farmer, took a moment for a brief photo opportunity at Viñales, had lunch at a unique and quirky “art farm” with wood carvings across many acres of land, and we dipped our toes in the San Juan River. From traveling through historic Havana, to the countryside of Pinar del Rio, our group had a diverse viewpoint of life in Cuba. With the rich culture of art, music, and dance, our exposure to the visual and performing arts was extensive and enjoyable. I found that the happiness and liveliness of the Cuban people is infectious, and I look forward to my next trip to Cuba! I highly recommend the study abroad and graduate school programs to other professionals who wish to enrich their lives, personally and academically.

Over Spring Break, University of Memphis Students traveled to Cape Town to study Music and Resistance in South Africa.

3 Ways to Prepare for your Study Abroad Experience CARISSA HOITENGA, STUDY ABROAD ADVISOR What is the best way to have an unforgettable, positive experience studying abroad? Prepare before you leave!

1. Get into the Right Mindset. You are not just going on a trip; you are not going to be a tourist. The goal of studying abroad is to integrate into a new culture, experience a new way of learning, build new relationships in the community and network with classmates, and challenge your adaptability skills. For example, living in a host family or student dormitory in a foreign country is much different than staying at a hotel on a vacation. You will be expected to take more responsibility for yourself, find things on your own, figure out the metro independently, etc. Most importantly, you will be adapting to a new lifestyle. Are you curious about the experience? Talk to a Study Abroad alumni! It is one long adventure that gives you the opportunity to become more independent and really show yourself what you are truly capable of. 2. Know your program! Invest your own time into the experience. Your study abroad advisor will be a big help to you in the application process, but it is your responsibility to read the program’s website, double check that you are meeting deadlines, and learn as much as you can about the school and country you will be going to. If I can stress one thing, it is Read Everything! (And I do mean read everything- your program’s website, any papers given to you, visa applications, even the footnotes.) There will always be surprises when you are living in a new country and traveling abroad, but the more you prepare, the fewer and smaller the surprises will be.

3. Start the application process early. Applying to study and live in a foreign country has many parts and can take time, as there are school applications, visa applications, scholarship applications, and many small details to take care of for each item. It’s a good idea to start thinking about your future semester abroad one year in advance. Applying early, such as nine months in advance, has its advantages. For example, passport and visa applications can take weeks or months in some cases, and scholarship deadlines tend to be earlier than program deadlines. But in the end, it provides for a more relaxed pace of application, so you are not frantically trying to cover all your bases the night before they are due, which is pretty much impossible. Many programs will even let you know if you’ve been accepted right away so you can have more time to prepare for your program. If you would like to take advantage of an international education experience, please set up an appointment with a study abroad advisor. We’d love to help you spend a semester abroad.

For more information, visit MEMPHIS.EDU/ABROAD

Charles Hall in Cusco, Peru How has your career afforded you the opportunity to travel abroad? I’ve used teaching/exploring English as a tool to work in almost 40 countries (some which don’t even exist anymore!) and to work for organizations such as the U.S. Department of States, the European Union, and the United Nations.

Faculty Spotlight A CONVERSATION WITH PROFESSOR CHARLES HALL, PH.D., DR.H.C. OF THE DEPARTMENT ENGLISH, APPLIED LINGUISTICS PROGRAM Please tell us about yourself and your position at the University of Memphis (U of M).

Please tell us about your first experience with study abroad.

I’m an applied linguist in the Department of English and have been at U of M since 1984 when I came from the University of Florida to help start our Teaching English as a Second/Foreign Language programs that now have a B.A., an M.A. and a Ph.D.

What is your role in study abroad here at the U of M?

After spending much of my youth living in a forest in the middle of nowhere in Michigan, I went off to a boys’ school in Hamburg, then West Germany. That was over 40 years ago. Hamburg is in the north of Germany where at that time there weren’t many foreigners and no English speakers. This was long before computers or Skype; international phone calls were the equivalent of about $8 a minute, and even letters took at least a week to be delivered, so I was pretty much on my own. It was scary at first since my German was rudimentary but it quickly got better because it had to!

My very grand goal is help make it possible for every U of M student, faculty and staff to have a study abroad experience because I know it can be life-changing. My daily role is directing two study abroad programs in the Department of English that give people the introductory credential to teach English as a Foreign Language overseas [TEFL Certificate]. One is in the Czech Republic each July, and the other is in Spain each June. I also talk to people informally about their study abroad opportunities using my own experiences and those of past participants.

Gradually, I found my way and was actually first in my French and math classes! But let’s not talk about the classes I didn’t pass. I even toured around Northern Germany as last cellist in the Hamburg Youth Orchestra. They let me in the orchestra because I was an American and it allowed them to say they were international. I really was pathetic as a musician but I loved the experience. I learned lots about Europe and the world, but it’s more important for me to say that I learned more about who I was and what it meant to be an American.

In my job, I use language to explore and to help better the world by giving people an important tool, English, and by encouraging people understand why they do/believe what they do.

When I first came to Memphis in 1984, I thought I might be “stuck” in the USA, but when I was awarded my first Senior Fulbright in 1989 to then Czechoslovakia, my life changed dramatically and forever. I was teaching at Charles University in Prague when the Velvet Revolution began. There I watched young mothers with children and frail old men demand their freedom after decades of repressive, totalitarian “Communism.” I was in the right place at the right time with the right skills. The so-called “Communist” government, which was really just a dictatorship with a fancy name, hadn’t let many people learn English because it gave them too much information about the Western democracies, so I was asked to help set up a temporary summer program to teach professors and college students English. They needed English to gain new information and form new contacts. I saw firsthand how by controlling language, you can control a nation. I thought the intensive summer English program would last a year or two. This summer I will be there for the 24th year. Almost immediately I began to involve the University of Memphis community in that program and now hundreds of people from Memphis and nearby have been to Pilsen, the Czech Republic for a glorious summer of hard work and great pleasure. Importantly, along the way I transitioned from being a general ESL teacher to a specialist in legal language and curriculum development. Because I’m one of the few people with that specialty, I’m routinely invited by the U.S. Department of State, the United Nations, and the European Union to CONTINUED ON BACK PAGE

Gilman Scholarship for Study Abroad Awarded to U of M Students Congratulations to three University of Memphis students have received the prestigious Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship for foreign study. Ayesha Ghani, a senior majoring in Health and Human Performance with a concentration in Dietetics was awarded funding to study nutrition in Florence, Italy this past summer. John Burrell, a senior majoring in Accounting and Foreign Languages with a concentration in Japanese will be studying business and Japanese language during the 2013–2014 Academic Year at Osaka University of Economics in Osaka, Japan. John Aaron Whitaker, a junior majoring in in International Business and Foreign Languages with a concentration in Japanese will also be studying business and Japanese language during the 2013–2014 Academic Year at Osaka University of Economics in Osaka, Japan. The Gilman program encourages students to choose non-traditional study destinations, especially those outside of Western Europe,

Faculty Spotlight


teach, to give workshops or to be the plenary speaker at international conferences. So far I’ve worked in many astonishing places, including the world’s two newest countries, South Sudan and Timor Leste. I’ve consulted, taught, and worked in “hard” places such as Syria, Yemen, Lebanon, Algeria, and Iraq, where I worked with judges, lawyers, prosecutors, and the police. However, I’ve also been to many “easy” places such as France, Germany, Spain, and Italy. In each place I’ve met astonishing people and learned more than I’ve taught. Do you feel a study abroad experience is important for students at the U of M? We learn by challenging ourselves, taking reasonable chances, and being ready to make mistakes. Taking part in a study abroad program gives you opportunities for new experiences daily, for doing things you 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. UOM120-FY1314/2C50. Peerless Printing.

Australia and New Zealand. The program supports students who may be unlikely to study abroad, including those with financial need, community college students, those in underrepresented fields such as the sciences and engineering, students with diverse ethnic backgrounds, and those with disabilities. Recipients are chosen by a competitive selection process and must use the award to pay for eligible study abroad costs. Those costs include program tuition, room and board, books, local transportation, insurance and international airfare. The Study Abroad Office will be holding strategic workshops for the Gilman Scholarship for Study Abroad on the following locations & times: UC Senate Room – September 6th from 1pm to 2:30pm UC Senate Room – September 20th from 1pm to 2:30pm For more information regarding this scholarship please go to or contact the study abroad office at

never considered doing before, and for placing yourself in situations where you must rely on your character and your inner strength. We learn to appreciate who we are and what we believe by exposing our own ideas to those of others that are different or even in direct opposition to our own. Indeed we learn to love but also to question our own culture by interacting with others. And don’t forget that when you have a good study abroad experience on your resume, you show that you are flexible, ready to grow, and inquisitive. Yes, there is a blunt financial benefit as well. But that is secondary! Of course, you have to make YOUR study abroad experience worthwhile. If you just go abroad to hang only with Americans you knew from high school, you might as well stay home. You have to push yourself and make yourself “uncomfortable” a bit! That’s how you grow. Now that we have some really affordable programs and study abroad scholarships, everyone should be able to take that first step into “the unknown”. So, find a program that makes you a little bit nervous, but just a bit. Don’t go on a four-month trek through the Amazon if you’ve never been out of Shelby County before. Talk to me, talk to the study abroad advisers. Take that chance and I’ll see you “over there” this year. STUDY ABROAD PROGRAM 102 Brister Hall Memphis, TN 38152 901.678.2814 /studyabroadmemphis @memphisabroad

Study Abroad Newsletter  
Study Abroad Newsletter  

A Newsletter for the Center for International Programs and Services, Fall 2013