Six students awarded study abroad scholarshipsBy Judah Martin | 01/17/2012 11:10pm
Six students have been awarded the UA Away Scholarship to study abroad by The University of Alabama Division of Student Affairs as part of the Community Service Center’s Alternative Break program.
UA Away, created in part by Mark Nelson, vice president for Student Affairs and vice provost, offers the six students—Froy Batsielilit, Lisa Bochey, Nicole Nealon, Nicholas Kelly, Carson Economy, and Kristen Pugh—the chance to travel during spring break to Guatemala where they will participate in service opportunities like construction projects and mentoring children in poverty-stricken areas.
“Maximizing student learning means we must encourage our students to become global citizens,” Nelson said. “The UA Away scholarship initiative supports students who may not otherwise have the opportunity to benefit from the unique educational opportunity that only comes from travel abroad."
The UA Away scholarship, which depends largely on donations and other fundraising methods, covers all of the students’ expenses related to performing the community service and is primarily need-based, aiming to provide the chance to study abroad to students who otherwise could not afford it.
Froy Batsielilit, a senior majoring in international relations and Spanish, is originally from Africa. She hopes her background will provide her with a better understanding of the people she will work with in Guatemala.
“I want to a make a difference, even just a small contribution,” Batsielilit said. “Because of my personal experience, it would mean the world to me to know that a family was able to have a more convenient life because of me.”
Carson Economy, a senior majoring in psychology, travelled to Guatemala with the program last year as well and will be returning to participate in service projects this year.
“My experience in Guatemala taught me what it means to give back and to completely give of yourself—before this trip I had no idea what that meant,” Economy said. “I look forward to seeing my Guatemalan friends again, to see how they have grown, and to help the new group of volunteers have the same life-changing experience that I had last year.”
For Nicholas Kelly, a junior majoring in exercise science, the trip to Guatemala will be his first experience travelling to another country. He hopes to share the values and ideas that he observes there when he returns home.
“I absolutely love learning from every situation and person I come in contact with,” Kelly said. “It allows me to grow as a citizen and a human being, but it also allows me to teach others so they can make a difference in others’ lives as well.”
Aside from the trip to Guatemala, the Community Service Center’s Alternative Break program has several other upcoming service projects scheduled including a domestic Alternative Spring Break trip to Baldwin County working with Habitat for Humanity and an Alternative May Interim Break trip to the Dominican Republic.