scholar_stories

Amelia Davis

Study Abroad

Amelia undertook a service-learning internship with Consultorio Baron in Valparaíso, a public clinic which provides many free services for low-income Chileans.  The experience fulfilled two goals she had set for herself: one to improve her Spanish fluency and two, do so by directly engaging with the community in a service learning/internship setting.

Of her time abroad, Amelia says, “Life often presents us with amazing opportunities, and I am so thankful to the Foundation for Global Scholars for giving me one such opportunity in studying abroad. My experience in Chile gave me so much more than I expected. I was able to speak Spanish constantly, make connections with wonderful and warm people, explore the stunning landscapes of the country, and learn more about healthcare in a different country.”

Changemaker Update

Amelia is now a member of the AmeriCorps Community HealthCorps, serving with Salud Family Health Centers in northern Colorado. Daily, she interacts with patients.  These daily interactions have taught Amelia a great lesson. “We can have an impact in each individual’s life, whether that impact lies in assistance in navigating insurance and the healthcare system, a referral to a behavioral health specialist, or simple conversations for support and morale.”

Of her experience with AmeriCorps, Amelia reflects, “I’m finding that all communities need education, awareness, conversations, and even support in many facets of life, not just healthcare.”

Home University
University of Denver

Major
Biology & English (‘14)

Studied In
Valparaiso, Chile

Wesnide Edouard

Study Abroad

A Haitian born immigrant to the U.S., Wesnide says that all things America filled her early childhood dreams.  The U.S. was seen as “the threshold to wealth and prosperity,” she says. Upon moving to the U.S., she dreamed new dreams, bigger dreams. She dreamed of studying abroad in Spain.  Studying and living in Spain allowed her to see the value in other cultures and other ways of living, specifically appreciating cultures beyond the lore of the U.S. on which she grew up. Although similar in prosperity, says Wesnide, Spain provided an example of  Western prosperity without the emphasis on wealth accumulation.

“This scholarship has enabled me to dream beyond my cultural understanding of America and to really see the value in other cultures and other ways of living.”

Changemaker Update

“As a Haitian American, growing up in immigrant neighborhoods where single parent families are working two jobs to provide not only for their immediate families but also for family members in Haiti, it’s clear that the path for success may be blurry for the youth in the Haitian American community.”  Blending her life experience and accounting education, Wesnide feels compelled to be a teacher to those in her community, not just a ‘good example.’  “I aim to have workshops” Wesnide reports, “and spread the knowledge of money management so that single parent families won’t have to work two jobs to provide for their families.”

Home University
University of Florida

Major
Accounting (‘16)

Studied In
Madrid, Spain

Samra Cordic

Study Abroad

The choice to study abroad seemed an impossibility for Samra. Responsible for paying her own way through college, even a small additional expense seemed insurmountable. She further received little encouragement from her family. She was advised that is was neither proper nor respectable for a young unmarried Bosnian woman to leave her family and study abroad. This created a resolve in Samra. “I would like to prove that women are just as capable as men and that nothing, especially gender roles, should ever hold you back from pursuing your dreams and bettering yourself.”

Changemaker Update

Samra has a passion for women’s rights, minority rights and equality in human rights throughout the world. Pursuit of endeavors which furthers these passions worldwide is a goal for Samra. From humble beginnings in a Bosnian village to the wonderful and numerous opportunities presented to her since immigrating to the U.S., keep her motivated. She hopes to create opportunities for children of developing nations to become better educated. “Not only would this provide children with a chance to make something of themselves, but I believe it would aid in the development of their respective nations,” says Samra. “Every child deserves an opportunity. I have been blessed with many, and I would love to be able to pay it forward.”

Home University
Webster University

Major
Legal Studies (‘15)

Studied In
Leiden, The Netherlands

Zola Glassman

Study Abroad

Zola’s study abroad experience demanded that she engage with her new community.  Her film program in Seville – hosted classes at a media lab with local film professors – immersed her in the Spanish culture and strengthened her filmmaking skills.  The outcome of this immersion and developed skills was a documentary that explored a distinct aspect of Sevillan culture — the night life.  In particular, Zola defined “the perception of youth in the context of ‘la fiesta (the party)’ from a variety of different perspectives.”  In the process of creating the documentary, she conducted a series of interviews with Spanish locals, from a DJ and bar tender at a discoteca, to taxi drivers and Spanish youth on the street.   She says the process led her outside of her comfort zone and prompted her to “interact with the [Spanish] culture through a different lens.”

What’s Next

Having broadened her understanding of the scope of the Spanish media, language, and community, Zola says she was “excited to return to the States with a cross cultural understanding of my focus and new found sense of independence.”  She screened her documentary at a California film festival.

“Since returning from my semester abroad, where I immersed myself in a different culture and cultivated strong ties to a faraway place, I have been experiencing life the States through a new and inherently worldlier pair of eyes. My exposure to different customs and ways of life has manifested in a newfound sense of possibility and openness to trying new things, new paths, new thoughts.”

“By fully immersing myself and exploring a different culture through the creation of a film, my hope is to ultimately use my experience and the power of the media as a way to break down global divides,” says Zola.

Home University
Hampshire College

Major
 Media Business and Production (Film) (‘15)

Studied In
Seville, Spain

Dana Hadra

Study Abroad

Throughout her collegiate career, Dana has grown increasingly passionate about language, politics, and government, particularly in one of the most politically complex regions in the world, the Middle East.  Living in Amman, Jordan for a semester, would certainly test and stretch these passions.  Dana wished to achieve two specific goals for her time in the Middle East: 1) drastically improve her Arabic, and 2) become involved in her community, meeting as many people as possible, to gain a better understanding of that area of the world.  She accomplished both, through her daily classes and everyday encounters with people, who, as Dana explains “weren’t shy in sharing their opinions about politics, culture, religion, you name it.”

Dana says, “The Middle East is such a fascinating place, and it was amazing to be right in the heart of it all!”

Changemaker Update

Upon her return from Jordan, Dana interned for a think tank in Washington, DC where she analyzed military and political developments in Syria. Having met a number of Syrian refugees while in Jordan, the internship experience gave her yet another invaluable Middle Eastern perspective.

Now in her final year of study, Dana is writing her senior thesis.  She is looking at the ideological underpinnings of ISIS, but will also be trying to understand the group within the context of political instability in Syria and Iraq.  Dana admits, “I definitely have my work cut out for me, but it should be an interesting project.”

Following graduation, Dana hopes to “promote a deeper level of understanding between the Middle East and the western world, whether through government, humanitarian, or international development work.”

Home University
Boston College

Major
Political Science & Islamic Civilizations and Societies (‘15)

Studied In
Amman, Jordan

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