“These have been some of the best and most compelling grant projects” said Doug Reilly, director of the Center for Global Education, of the work of several HWS students who presented projects they began while studying abroad. The recent presentations were part of the Global Visions Celebration, which gave recognition to students who completed projects above and beyond the course of study abroad with the help of Student International Initiative Fund (SIIF) grants. At the time this group of students was funded, the grants were called SEAY Grants, after the late George Liston Seay ’62, who contributed to the grants for the purpose of giving students the ability to “do their own projects that bind them to the cultures that surround them.”
The presenters and their corresponding abroad programs included: Evan Amato ‘10 (Copenhagen, Denmark), Myles Hunt ’11 (Auckland, New Zealand), Claire Leavengood ’11 (Copenhagen, Denmark), Ashley Lee ’11 (Seoul, South Korea), Heather MacNaughton ’10 (Ecuador and Peru), Megan Rechin ’11 (Madrid, Spain), Andrea Rocchio ’11 (Carmarthen, Wales), Drew Shumway ’11 (Auckland, New Zealand), and Benjamin D’Innocenzo ’10 (Pietermaritzburg, South Africa).
The projects, described by Reilly as a “gateway into the culture,” featured an array of subject areas, from the tradition of salsa dancing in South America, to a study of wind turbines and sustainable agriculture in Denmark.
Lee, for example, used her SEAY grant to focus on learning the art and tradition of taekwondo in South Korea. She had begun to learn the martial art at a young age with the encouragement of her Korean grandfather, but had lost the time and opportunity to continue over the years. When deciding where to study abroad, Lee chose South Korea in order to bring her closer to her heritage and to enhance her undergraduate studies of the language.
“In doing the project, I think that I gained a lot of international experience in making friends and being able to be in a multi-lingual environment that encouraged everyone to pursue the martial art because of its value within Korean culture.” Lee is grateful for the opportunity that the SEAY grant gave her to complete a project outside of the academic curriculum.
“I hope everyone can experience something similar when going abroad. I am sure any independent project would bring a lot of personal growth to an individual outside of their comfort zone or home.”
Photo contest pictures can be found at Global Vision contest winners.