Archives: News

ELI Scholarship Winner

 

 

 

 

 

 

Congratulations to this session’s ELI Tuition Scholarship winner: Tran from Vietnam!

Every session the ELI awards tuition scholarships to current full-time students. The students must attend 80% of their ELI classes and have a minimum GPA of 3.0 in all ELI classes. Students must also write a short essay explaining why they want the scholarship.

If you are a current ELI student and want to apply for a scholarship for next session, you can find the application on the ELI Forms page.

 

The ELI in Japan

The University of Alabama’s English Language Institute has begun its second year as a partner with Kansai Gaidai University (KGU) in Japan. Several of the UA’s ELI faculty are providing a range of academic English courses for 100 Japanese students each year on site in Osaka. Courses include English-language skill courses, as well as content-based courses on global issues, world religions, and current events.

Kansai Gaidai University is a private Japanese university known for its focus on foreign languages, study abroad, and Asian Studies programs. The students enroll in the UA@KGU program in order to study abroad during their second and third years. Many graduates pursue careers in hospitality and hotel management.

ELI instructor Sybil Armstrong has enjoyed working for the program. “I have found students in the UA@KGU program to be enthusiastic, willing to work hard, cooperative, goal-oriented, and a pleasure to work with.”

In addition to the program benefiting the KGU students, ELI instructors also benefit. As Drew Sanford, the program’s director, states, “Teaching in the UA@KGU program has given me the opportunity not only to grow as an instructor but also to deepen my knowledge of the Japanese language and culture.”

The first ELI@KGU classes began in April 2017 and the offerings from ELI will continue through at least 2019. This continues a long association between the UA and KGU. The UA has been hosting international exchange students from KGU for nearly two decades.

 

Dr. Teresa Wise, Associate Provost of International Education and Global Outreach and Drew Sanford, Director of UA@KGU
Kansai Gaidai University, Hirakata, Japan

UA’s Alpine Living Wins SPJ National Mark of Excellence

May 25, 2018 | From UA News

University of Alabama student-produced magazine, Alpine Living, has been awarded a national Mark of Excellence Award from the Society of Professional Journalists in the category of Best Affiliated Website.

This is the seventh national honor for the latest edition of Alpine Living featuring content from the travels of 15 UA students from the department of journalism and creative media to New Zealand in March 2017. The students produced a 100+ page, full-gloss magazine promoting the art, history, culture, people and traditions of New Zealand.

“I am incredibly proud of this team because they have demonstrated that when the bar is high and they strive for excellence, anything is possible,” said Dr. Kim Bissell. “Within three weeks of returning from halfway across the world, we had a print and online version of this magazine with content that was created and produced during our two weeks of travel. Alpine Living is unlike any other student-produced magazine in the country, and I am incredibly proud of this team’s efforts.”

The Society of Professional Journalists’ Mark of Excellence Award recognizes the best in student journalism nationwide. Other national finalists include Harvard University and the University of Texas at Arlington.

Other national honors for the New Zealand issue of Alpine Living include the following:

  • Best affiliated websiteRegion 3 winner, SPJ Mark of Excellence, alpinelivingua.com.
  • Honorable MentionFeature Story of the Year, Associated Collegiate Press Award, “The Story of the Māori,” Elayne Smith and Madison Sullivan.
  • Fourth Place, Multimedia Feature Story of the Year, Associated Collegiate Press Award, “Resilient,” Christopher Edmunds, Cara Walker, Taylor Armer and Thomas Joa.
  • Second place, Online Magazine, AEJMC Magazine Division, alpinelivingua.com.
  • Second PlaceService and Information Feature Story, AEJMC Magazine Division, “Sea of Dreams,” Matthew Wilson.
  • Third PlaceSingle Issue of an Ongoing Magazine–Editorial, AEJMC Magazine Division, alpinelivingua.com.

The Alpine Living staff includes UA students Jonathan Norris, Mary Kathryn Carpenter, Taylor Armer, Hailey Grace Steele, Christopher Edmunds, Madison Sullivan, Kaylin Bowen, Lane Stafford, Elizabeth Elkin, Danielle Waddell, Thomas Joa, Cara Walker, Mary-Margaret Schmidt, Matthew Wilson and Elayne Smith. Students who are a part of the editorial team include graduate and undergraduate students in journalism and creative media. They go through a competitive and selective process in order to participate.

ELI Scholarship Winner

Congratulations to this session’s ELI Tuition Scholarship winner: Shu from Taiwan!

Every session the ELI awards tuition scholarships to current full-time students. The students must attend 80% of their ELI classes and have a minimum GPA of 3.0 in all ELI classes. Students must also write a short essay explaining why they want the scholarship.

If you are a current ELI student and want to apply for a scholarship for next session, you can find the application on the ELI Forms page.

Finding a “Sweet Home” Abroad

May 16, 2018 | From UA News

 

UA Social Work Graduate Student to Begin Fulbright in September

By David Miller

Turkey, a country with next-level Southern hospitality.

It reads like a tourism slogan, but UA graduate student Shelby Smithson can’t describe the country, its culture and its people any better.

“Turkish people are so willing to move mountains for a guest,” Smithson said. “The warmth of the culture is very endearing.”

Like most Southerners, the Mobile native  knows genuine kindness and hospitality. She experienced it firsthand when she visited Turkey for the first time last summer, spending two months learning the language, culture and social work infrastructure.

Smithson, who will earn a master’s degree in social work on Friday, received a Fulbright scholarship and will return to Turkey in September to teach English.

She recently took part in the long-running UA School of Social Work’s Washington, D.C. internship program, where she worked at the International Justice Mission, the world’s largest anti-slavery and anti-trafficking organization. She hopes one day to have a career as an international social worker and make her home in Turkey.

“I’m ecstatic and can’t wait to go back,” Smithson said. “I’ve joked with people that [the selection committee] must have thought I was just obsessed with Turkey and thought, ‘I guess we should just let her in.’ And I’m sure there was some academic consideration, but I’ve also been heavily involved in the Turkish community in Tuscaloosa – I was on the Turkish Student Association, and I studied the language for three semesters.”

International social work

Smithson’s travel passion stretches back to high school, when she first began international mission work.

Smithson spent two months in Turkey last summer, learning the language and studying the country’s social work infrastructure.

She completed a one-week medical assistance mission in Honduras prior to enrolling at UA, and a two-month mission teaching English to children in Central Asia the summer before her sophomore year.

The trip to Central Asia allowed her to develop relationships with community members and immerse herself in a culture, aspects she didn’t experience during her snapshot of the poverty she observed in Honduras.

Smithson was keen to embed herself in Turkish culture last summer, hoping for a similarly rich experience from her previous service trip in Kazakhstan. In Turkey, she stayed mostly with UA PhD student and close friend Burcu Ozturk.

“[Ozturk] was a social worker in Turkey, so we were able to meet with social workers and visit agencies in Turkey,” Smithson said. “It was eye-opening.”

Smithson said she began to learn more about trauma and international human rights violations while working on her MSW at UA. She completed a yearlong independent study with Dr. Debra Nelson-Gardell, associate professor of social work and coordinator of international programs, which focused on neurobiological effects of trauma, and another independent study on international social work.

“Through the independent studies and other classes, I figured out the impact I want to make with social work. And it fit perfectly with my passion to be overseas. Then IJM was the perfect placement for me because it combined both of those things.”

IJM

While at the International Justice Mission, Smithson worked with specialists to develop training modules for field offices across the globe and provide research to plan and manage their programs.

Smithson worked specifically with the IJM’s aftercare team, which focused on restoring survivors of human trafficking and slavery and reducing their vulnerability. Throughout the spring semester, she developed training for the aftercare team’s new assessment tool and the accompanying guidance manual.

“We definitely got exposure to what was going on in the field every day, whether it was a rescue mission or a court case,” Smithson said. “I got to hear all these stories about survivors being rescued and restored, and what that looks like. They were great about giving me meaningful work.”

On her final day at the IJM, she received a surprise opportunity to help train the British Red Cross.

“I didn’t think I had any place being there,” she said. “But having that opportunity really showed me that, no matter what I was doing, it’s having a global impact.”

Internship experience aside, Smithson is grateful for the opportunity to work in D.C., an epicenter for public policy and international relief agencies. Networking was a built-in component facilitated by UA program coordinators, but students were encouraged to seek mentorships and professional relationships on their own.

Smithson said she’ll likely have to build considerable work experience before returning to Turkey full-time, but her experiences in Washington D.C. have provided contacts and a blueprint for her return.

“I didn’t realize what a difference the D.C. program was going to make,” Smithson said. “You could be on the metro with someone who works for the state department, or someone who can really make a difference. D.C. is unique that so many people who want to change the world are in this small area. I’ve made incredible connections that will take me far.”

UA Students Win 15 Fulbright Awards for 2018-2019

May 2nd, 2018 | From UA News

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — For the 2018–2019 competition period, 15 University of Alabama students have been selected for Fulbright Awards. The University of Alabama is a nationally ranked Top Producer of Fulbright Student Award Winners.

“Congratulations to UA’s 2018–19 Fulbright winners,” said Dr. Teresa E. Wise, associate provost for international education and global outreach. “Globally focused on-campus curricular and co-curricular opportunities and study abroad experiences help our students develop into world citizens who foster international understanding through programs like Fulbright.”

The highly competitive Fulbright U.S. Student Program provides grants for individually designed study and research projects or for English-teaching assistantships. More than 11,000 applicants compete for approximately 1,950 awards each year. Sponsored by the U.S. State Department, Fulbright is the largest U.S. international exchange program, offering opportunities for students, scholars and professionals.

Two University of Alabama students received Fulbright Awards for research and study during the 2018–2019 academic year.

  • Nicole Henderson of Wellford, South Carolina, a doctoral candidate in anthropology, will pursue research titled “Um Ciclo Vicioso: Cultural Beliefs, Stigma, and Substance Use in Brazil.”
  • Natalie Kidd of Birmingham, a graduate in biochemistry will conduct research titled “Modulation of Regulatory/Suppressive Actions of Gamma T-cells with a Chimeric Antigen Receptor (CAR)” at the University of Kiel’s Institute of Immunology in Germany.

Thirteen UA graduates received Fulbright Awards to serve as English teaching assistants overseas for the 2018–2019 academic year.

  • Rachel Combs of Florence, a graduate in political science and German, will teach in Germany.
  • Jeremy Connor of Huntsville, a graduate in music performance (woodwind and percussion) and a current master’s student in German linguistics, will teach in Germany.
  • Carrigan Fain of Gardendale, a graduate in international studies with a minor in Spanish and captain of the UA women’s softball team, will teach in Malaysia.
  • Dwyer Freeman of Haddonfield, New Jersey, a graduate in German language and literature with a minor in critical theory through social study, will teach in Germany.
  • Maggie Holmes of Madison, Mississippi, a graduate in biology with minors in Spanish and psychology, will teach in Spain.
  • Madeleine Lewis of Huntsville, a graduate in religious studies and applied mathematics, will teach in Montenegro.
  • Richard Lewis of Birmingham, a graduate in English with minors in social innovation and leadership, business, and creative writing, will teach in Malaysia.
  • Taebryanna Sims of Mobile, a graduate in international studies with language study in French and Korean, will teach in South Korea.
  • Shelby Smithson of Mobile, a graduate with a bachelor’s and a master’s in social work and studies in the Turkish language, will teach in Turkey.
  • Theresa Stoddard of Eads, Tennessee, a graduate in interdisciplinary studies, global inequities and human rights, and Spanish, will teach in Spain.
  • Kaylyn Williams of Hoover, a graduate with a bachelor’s and a master’s in accounting, will teach in the Czech Republic.
  • Amanda Wolosz of Midland Park, New Jersey, a graduate in economics and finance with a minor in history, will teach in Poland.
  • Annika Wulff of Army Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, a graduate in communicative disorders and German language and literature, will teach in Germany.

“These students are drawn from many majors and include representatives of leadership programs on our campus, including the Blackburn Institute, the Blount Scholars Program, the Honors College, New College and the University Scholars Program,” said Dr. Beverly Hawk, UA Fulbright program adviser and director of global and community engagement in the Center for Community-Based Partnerships. “Through their individual community engagement activities overseas, these Fulbright winners will develop lasting international ties for Alabama and the USA.”

Students with an interest in next year’s competition are invited to learn more about the Fulbright Program by contacting the Capstone International Center, 135 B.B. Comer Hall, cic@ua.edu or beverly.hawk@ua.edu.

International Exchange Student Send-Off

The Education Abroad office will hold the final event for the spring international exchange students.  We will be celebrating their time here with pizza and tie-dying t-shirts on Friday, April 27. In attendance will also be the Education Abroad Interns who are returned American study abroad students who have been involved with the exchange students and their activities throughout their stay at The University of Alabama. While the group this semester has been small, they have been incredibly active and engaging. The international exchange students are a group of students from all over the world who come to UA to study for either a semester or an academic year. The University of Alabama currently has partnerships with over thirty different foreign institutions where we swap students each semester. A great benefit for these students and ours is that each student will pay their normal tuition rate at their institution in order to study abroad. This semester we were fortunate to have students from France, Japan, England, and Taiwan experience all that Tuscaloosa has to offer.