UA Away offers students opportunity to go abroadBy Jessica Ruffin | 03/07/2012 11:10pm
Although they may be intelligent, hardworking and motivated, for some students the option to study abroad just doesn’t exist – they can’t afford the expensive venture. Vice president of Student Affairs and vice provost Dr. Mark Nelson was determined to change this and is now on his way to doing so with the UA Away Scholarship program.
“I know firsthand the value of traveling abroad,” Nelson said. “It’s an experience that can’t be described or compared to any other kind of learning expedition.”
The UA Away Scholarship program is a brainchild of Nelson’s and operates as an initiative that enables students to travel to a foreign country with financial aid from the University.
Morris Middleton, the head of fundraising for the program, believes it is important because it gives deserving students the chance to travel overseas that otherwise may not be able to afford it.
“Our vision for this is to draw from all divisions of the University to provide students with the opportunity to do three things internationally: study, work and volunteer abroad,” Middleton said.
Middleton said he believes that in doing these three things: students will become better global citizens. This is an idea that Middleton insists is a necessity for students in today’s world.
“What we’re trying to do is equip students to be good global citizens because when you graduate, you’re going to competing in a world market for jobs,” Middleton said.
Nelson also stressed the importance of being a good global citizen, saying it is one of the primary priorities of the program. However, he stressed it as being just one of the many benefits that studying abroad can give you.
Studies have shown that students who study abroad are more likely to be a better, more engaged student when they return, Nelson said.
UA Away will put this study to the test on March 10, when they send six students to Guatemala on the program’s scholarship.
As a part of the Community Service Center’s Alternative Break program, the students will participate in service learning projects.
For UA student Nicholas Kelly, the trip to Guatemala will be more than just his first study-abroad experience; it will also be his first time outside of the United States. Kelly, a junior majoring in exercise science, believes this experience will be beneficial to him, as well as those that he meets overseas.
“I absolutely love learning from every situation and person I come in contact with,” Kelly said in a press release. “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.”