scholar_stories

Socorro Lopez

Study Abroad

Socorro reports that her few months in Africa were “a catalyst for unparalleled personal growth.” After four months, Socorro came to better understand a culture, religion and people that initially seemed very foreign to her. “Through the relationships that I was able to establish during my time abroad, I ultimately found a home in East Africa.” “My time in Tanzania was a catalyst for unparalleled personal growth, an experience that was largely made possible by the support that I received from the Foundation for Global Scholars,” says Socorro.

Changemaker Update

Socorro grew up in Honduras, one of the poorest countries in this Western Hemisphere. Today, there are few opportunities for business owners and future leaders in Honduras. “When I have the resources, I would like to find a way to empower young Hondurans.” To get there, Socorro is actively developing her own leadership capacity. This past summer, Socorro participated in a ‘Collegiate Leaders’ internship with the Center for Disease Control in Atlanta, Georgia.

Home University
George Washington University

Major
Environmental Studies (‘15)

Studied In
Zanzibar, Tanzania

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

Alexis Glenn

Study Abroad

Alexis knew Botswana was an uncommon destination for study abroad – and she admits culture shock was very real for her – but the choice was quite deliberate. While in Botswana, she learned a lot about remote schools and directly witnessed the effects of limited to no resources, heightening the everyday challenges in such a classroom. Working as a classroom aid, her specific program allowed her to view education, particularly the topics of access and equity through a new lens — one not to be replicated elsewhere.  Alexis reports the blessing of the scholarship translated as a blessing for these rural students. “Because I was blessed with this scholarship I was able to make a difference in the lives of these students.”

Changemaker Update

Alexis shares that she is considering returning to Botswana once she has completed her own education. Regardless of the destination, however, she is seeking to teach the under served and to empower these students to reach their full potential. And someday too she desires to create a scholarship.

Home University
University of Central Florida

Major
Elementary Education (‘16)

Studied In
Gaborone, Botswana

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

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