Center for International Education

    Watson Wednesday: Alexander Gibson

    • Posted on by Ann Butwell
    • Some speak of a post-racial America, suggesting that we have moved past racial discrimination and prejudice as a society. Yet, race and racial tensions seem to be the topics of the hour: it’s all we hear about on the news. Headlines featuring “Dolazel”, “police brutality” and etc. keep repeating themselves and reminding us that the abstract concept of race is still a very touchy and relevant subject in our country. Growing up as a biracial individual in Eastern Kentucky, 2008 Berea Watson fellow Alexander Gibson took it upon himself to learn more about the very concrete ways in which race affects people’s daily lives around the world.

      For his Watson project, Alexander traveled to Venezuela, Vietnam, India and South Africa to understand how multiracial people across the globe define their identities individually and collectively. “When given a choice between the predominant ethnic group and a marginalized minority, most biracial people identify with the marginalized minority. This is interesting because you would expect that self-interested, rational, people would chose the identity that offers the most objective advantage, yet that is not the apparent result”, he told me.

      60976_527276222943_3604753_nAlexander’s year of exploration was fundamental in his effort to comprehend his own identity. It also opened his eyes to the realities of multiracial people in vastly diverse contexts. “The Watson Fellowship can be a highly-isolating experience”, Alexander reflected. “It made me feel less connected with my fellow Americans and more interested in global, as opposed to local, politics. A year as a vagabond creates a feeling of freedom and separateness from traditional human experiences that I don’t know I will ever recover from. Nor, am I sure I want to”.

      The Thomas J. Watson Fellowship, named after the founder of International Business Machines (IBM), offers graduating college seniors of “unusual promise” the opportunity to engage in one year of independent exploration and travel outside the United States. Its goals are to enhance the capacity for resourcefulness, imagination, openness, and leadership, and to foster humane and effective participation in the world community—in other words, to develop future leaders who are self-reflective, well-informed, mindful citizens of the world. Only 40 institutions nationwide are allowed to nominate candidates for this esteemed prize. Berea College is the only school in Kentucky from which The Watson Fellowship accepts nominations. Each Watson Fellow is awarded $30,000 to pursue their international project.

      For more information on how to apply for the Watson Fellowship, click here.

      Applications due on Sept. 15th, 2015.

    Watson Wednesday: Thom Price

    • Posted on by Ann Butwell
    • Thom Price ’96 is one of my favorite characters in the universe of Berea Watson fellows. The first time I heard about the guy who spent a year building gondolas in Venice was the day I learned the true meaning of jealousy. I didn’t know then that Thom had moved back to Berea a decade after his Watson year, and that I would soon find myself eating delicious tagliatelle al tartufo at his house and hearing all about his Italian adventures.11334320_980461128639786_1583184160_n

      Born and raised in southern Appalachia, Thom designed his own independent major and graduated from Berea College with a degree in Appalachian studies. He wouldn’t let the obligations of formal education stay in the way of his learning, though. After his sophomore year, Thom decided to take time off from college and move to Maine, where he would start learning how to build traditional wooden boats. Before coming back to Berea, he also interned at a craft school in Asheville, which fermented his ambition to become a boat builder and fine woodworker.

      During his Watson year, Thom was an apprentice of maestro Daniele Bonaldo’s—one of the only five remaining boatbuilding masters in Venice. Thom not only learned about the ancient tradition of gondola building, but he also discovered a new interest for languages, classical art and history, all while indulging in the pleasures of living in the City of Masks. “There are some very wealthy people in the world and they all come to Venice sooner or later: if you have a good story to tell, like being a gondola builder, they invite you to parties. If you behave, they keep inviting you back”, Thom added.

      Thom’s future travel plans definitely include Venice—where he occasionally stops for a nostalgic café corretto with his old maestro—and Italy in general, where he goes to be with the in-laws. He and his husband Paolo plan to visit Spain and Portugal as well: their “no-family get-away”, as he described it.

      The Thomas J. Watson Fellowship, named after the founder of International Business Machines (IBM), offers graduating college seniors of “unusual promise” the opportunity to engage in one year of independent exploration and travel outside the United States. Its goals are to enhance the capacity for resourcefulness, imagination, openness, and leadership, and to foster humane and effective participation in the world community—in other words, to develop future leaders who are self-reflective, well-informed, mindful citizens of the world. Only 40 institutions nationwide are allowed to nominate candidates for this esteemed prize. Berea College is the only school in Kentucky from which The Watson Fellowship accepts nominations. Each Watson Fellow is awarded $30,000 to pursue their international project.

      For more information on how to apply for the Watson Fellowship, click here.

      Applications due on Sept. 15th, 2015.

    Watson Wednesday: Dylan Hunziker

    • Posted on by Ann Butwell
    • To make a long story short, Berea’s 2014 Thomas J. Watson fellow Dylan Hunziker has had a heck of a year! Dylan is now in Kyrgyzstan—after having graced Taiwan, Peru and Italy with his good looks and wits—, exploring the linguistic developments of Chinese diaspora11292836_10204273610862811_343424442_n (1) communities. With a B.A. in Sociology in hands, Dylan set out in a journey of self-discovery and independent exploration, pursuing a project he had always been passionate about.

      During his Watson year, Dylan has become very self-aware and aware of his surroundings. “I always thought of myself as sort of a misanthrope, but… nope, turns out I’m obsessed with people”, he told me. Dylan has had first-hand contact with several Chinese migrant communities around the globe, and has learned about their adaption to new locations—and how that’s shaped by language—, and also about their cultures and history. Dylan has also made personal connections with fascinating people.

      My very first day in Taitung, Taiwan, I saw this mean looking woman inside the local Daoist temple, and for some reason I felt compelled to talk to her. I said to myself ‘Dylan, this year is about being brave’, so I sucked up my fear and asked her if she knew where I could get my fortune told. Little did I know she was the head of the Taodong Iching Research Association. In a few short days we became close friends, and I went to her house to study with her almost every day for two months… Her bravery, kindness and mysticism stayed with me the whole year and probably will my whole life.

      A Watson year is indeed about bravery. It is also about adaptability, independence and passion. The Thomas J. Watson Fellowship, named after the founder of International Business Machines (IBM), offers graduating college seniors of “unusual promise” the opportunity to engage in one year of independent exploration and travel outside the United States. Its goals are to enhance the capacity for resourcefulness, imagination, openness, and leadership, and to foster humane and effective participation in the world community—in other words, to develop future leaders who are self-reflective, well-informed, mindful citizens of the world. Only 40 institutions nationwide are allowed to nominate candidates for this esteemed prize. Berea College is the only school in Kentucky from which The Watson Fellowship accepts nominations. Each Watson Fellow is awarded $30,000 to pursue their international project.

      For information and to apply for the Watson Fellowship, click here.
      Applications due on Sept. 15th, 2015.

    Nine Berea College Students Awarded Prestigious International Scholarship to Study Abroad

    • Posted on by Ann Butwell
    • Berea College students Ashley Alvey, Annette Dangerfield, Olivia Cundiff, Holden Dillman, and Tiara Washington are five of 860 American undergraduate students from 332 colleges and universities across the U.S. selected to receive the prestigious Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs to study or intern abroad during the fall 2015/academic year 2015-2015 academic term. This fall they will study abroad in France/Spain, the Netherlands, Japan, and Brazil/South Africa/India, respectively. Bridget O’Daniel was named as an alternate for the award for her study in Spain.

      Berea students Jessica Gates, Candice King, Cheyanna Johnson and Camille Vetters are four out of over 1,000 American undergraduate students from 332 colleges and universities across the U.S. selected to receive the Gilman Scholarship for the summer of 2015. They will study/intern in Cyprus, Bolivia, Ecuador, and Romania. Cinnamon Callins was chosen as an alternate for her study in Japan.

      Gilman scholars can receive up to $5,000 to apply towards their study abroad or internship program costs.  Together, nine Berea College students won a combined $30,000 for their overseas learning experiences.

      The program aims to diversify the students who study and intern abroad and the countries and regions where they go.  Students receiving a Federal Pell Grant from two- and four-year institutions who will be studying abroad or participating in a career-oriented international internship for academic credit are eligible to apply.  Scholarship recipients have the opportunity to gain a better understanding of other cultures, countries, languages, and economies — making them better prepared to assume leadership roles within government and the private sector.

      Congressman Gilman, who retired in 2002 after serving in the House of Representatives for 30 years and chairing the House Foreign Relations Committee, commented, “Study abroad is a special experience for every student who participates.  Living and learning in a vastly different environment of another nation not only exposes our students to alternate views, but also adds an enriching social and cultural experience.  It also provides our students with the opportunity to return home with a deeper understanding of their place in the world, encouraging them to be a contributor, rather than a spectator in the international community.”

      The program is administered by the Institute of International Education (IIE).  The full list of students who have been selected to receive Gilman Scholarships, including students’ home state, university and host country, is available on their website: www.iie.org/gilman. According to Allan Goodman, President and CEO of IIE, “International education is one of the best tools for developing mutual understanding and building connections between people from different countries.  It is critical to the success of American diplomacy and business, and the lasting ties that Americans make during their international studies are important to our country in times of conflict as well as times of peace.”

      If you are a Berea student, contact the Center for International Education at abroad@berea.edu for more information about how you can study abroad.

      The U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs’ (ECA) mission is to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries by means of educational and cultural exchange that assist in the development of peaceful relations. In an effort to reflect the diversity of the United States and global society, ECA programs, funding, and other activities encourage the involvement of American and international participants from traditionally underrepresented groups, including women, racial and ethnic minorities, and people with disabilities.  Artists, educators, athletes, students, youth and rising leaders in the United States and more than 160 countries around the globe participate in academic, cultural, sports, and professional exchanges.  For more information about ECA programs, initiatives, and achievements, visit http://eca.state.gov.

      The Institute of International Education (IIE) is the world leader in the international exchange of people and ideas.  An independent, nonprofit organization founded in 1919, the Institute is the world’s most experienced global higher education and professional exchange organization.  IIE has a network of 19 offices worldwide working with more than 1,200 member institutions and over 6,000 individuals with a commitment to the internationalization of their institutions.  IIE designs and implements programs of study and training for students, educators, young professionals and trainees from all sectors with funding from government and private sources. These programs include the Fulbright and Humphrey Fellowships administered for the U.S. Department of State.  The Institute is a resource for educators and institutions worldwide (http://www.iie.org), publishing the Open Doors Report and operating www.IIEPassport.org and www.studyabroadfunding.org  search engines for study abroad program and study abroad scholarships.  For more information, please contact Lindsay Calvert, Director, Gilman International Scholarship, at 832-369-3481 or lcalvert@iie.org.

    9 Berea College students receive the prestigious Benjamin A. Gilman Scholarship for summer and fall 2013 academic terms.

    • Posted on by Attila Sa
    • Carlos Aguilar ’13, Brea Bailey ’14, Steven Borsman ’14, Suzanne Dazo ’14, Paul Hawkins’ 14, Thomas Risk ’14, Jasmine Towne ’15, Jacob Leibeck ’15 and Cheyenne Bridgewater ’14 are representing Berea College among over 1000 outstanding American undergraduate students from 270 colleges and universities across the U.S. who have been selected to receive the prestigious Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, to participate in a study abroad or international internship program during the summer and fall 2013 academic terms.

      Gilman Scholars receive up to $5,000 to apply towards their study abroad program costs, and a limited number of students will also receive additional funding for language study through the Critical Need Language Awards, for a total award of $8,000. The list of students who have been selected to receive Gilman Scholarships, including students’ home state, university and country of study, is available at www.iie.org/gilman. Berea College is one of the universities with the most awardees in this academic year.

      The U.S. Department of State’s Gilman Scholarship Program aims to diversify the kinds of students who study abroad and the countries and regions where they go. Applications for spring 2014 Gilman Scholarships will be available online in August 2013 and due October 1, 2013. Students receiving a federal Pell Grant from two- and four-year institutions who will be studying abroad or participating in an international internship for academic credit are encouraged to apply.

      Since the establishment of the Gilman International Scholarship Program by the International Academic Opportunity Act of 2000, over 13,000 students nationwide have received this prestigious award. The program is administered by the Institute of International Education (IIE). Recipients of the scholarship have the opportunity to gain a better understanding of other cultures, countries, languages, and economies — making them better prepared to assume leadership roles within government and the private sector. According to Allan Goodman, President and CEO of the Institute of International Education, “International education is one of the best tools for developing mutual understanding and building connections between people from different countries. It is critical to the success of American diplomacy and business, and the lasting ties that Americans make during their international studies are important to our country in times of conflict as well as times of peace.”

    Loreal Bell is the newest Berea College Watson Fellowship winner.

    • Posted on by Attila Sa
    • New York, New York – Continuing its tradition of providing transformational international exposure and life-changing opportunities to promising students, today the Watson Foundation is proud to announce its 45th class of Thomas J. Watson Fellows. The Watson provides unparalleled exploration for forty graduating college seniors in any field. Students conceive a dream-year integrating their unique experience, proven skills and passion and receive support for a year of independent study on an international scale.

      Loreal Bell, a Berea College English major with a communications minor, has been selected as a 2013 Thomas J. Watson Fellow with the project, “Prisoner of Words: A Look into Feminist Euro Hip Hop Artists.” She expects to travel to the United Kingdom, Spain, Italy, Denmark, the Netherlands and Sweden using interviews and documentary production as a tool for connecting with masculine women from the LGBTQ community who are involved in Hip hop culture. “Hip Hop is an artistic expression which often emphasizes male dominance and female oppression, but that doesn’t take the art form away from women,” Loreal explains.

      Loreal—a  hip hop artist herself—had this to say about her selection: “The opportunity to travel and live out a dream feels so surreal and exciting at the same time. It is a representation of how progress is tangible despite obstacles.” She is looking forward to learning from hip hop artists who do break dancing, graffiti art, and disc jockeying as well as emceeing.

      This year’s class comes from eight countries and fourteen states. They’ll traverse 75 countries exploring topics from coastal disasters to synthetic biology; from music therapy to the ethics of extinction; from digital landscapes to the global shark trade; from youth criminalization to independent film making. “This year’s fellows are a constellation of remarkable students whose ideas cross as many disciplines as national borders. For 45 years, this has been the hallmark of the Watson – a boundless year of purposeful, independent discovery that forever shapes a fellow’s view of themselves and the world around them,” said Chris Kasabach, Director of the Watson Foundation.

      Watson awardees come from select private liberal arts colleges and universities across the United States. Only 40 institutions can nominate students for the Watson Fellowship, and each institution carries out preliminary application reviews and nominee selections.  Berea College is one of those 40 institutions, and the only one in the state of Kentucky.  The Francis and Louise Hutchins Center for International Education there administers the process.

      From over 700 candidates, 148 finalists were nominated to compete on the national level from which 40 were selected. Each fellow receives $25,000 for twelve-months of travel, college loan assistance as applicable, and an insurance allowance.

      About the Thomas J. Watson Foundation

      The Thomas J. Watson Foundation was created in 1961 as a charitable trust by Mrs. Thomas J. Watson, Sr., in honor of her late husband, the founder of International Business Machines (IBM). In 1968, in recognition of Mr. and Mrs. Watson’s long-standing interest in education and world affairs, their children decided that the Thomas J. Watson Fellowship Program should constitute a major activity of the Foundation.

      About the Thomas J. Watson Fellowship

      Over 2,700 “Watsons” have been named since the fellowship’s founding in 1968. A Watson Year provides fellows with an opportunity to test their aspirations, abilities and perseverance through a personal project that is cultivated on an international scale. Watson Fellows have gone on to become international leaders in their fields including CEOs of major corporations, college presidents, MacArthur “genius” grant recipients, diplomats, artists, lawyers, doctors, faculty, journalists, and many renowned researchers and innovators.

    A record 31 Berea College Students apply for Gilman Awards

    • Posted on by Webteam
    • “The Gilman Scholarship Program offers awards for undergraduate study abroad and was established by the International Academic Opportunity Act of 2000. This scholarship provides awards for U.S. undergraduate students who are receiving Federal Pell Grant funding at a two-year or four-year college or university to participate in study abroad programs worldwide.”

    Japan Travel Warning

    • Posted on by Webteam
    • In response to the earthquake and subsequent tsunami that took place in Japan last week, the US Department of State has issued a Travel Warning for that country. DoS urges US citizens to defer travel to Japan and advises those in the country already to consider departing.

      Read more: Japan Travel Warning

    ABC36 interviews Dr. Cahill about Egypt

    • Posted on by Webteam
    • Jacqueline Sprague of ABC36 (WTVQ) in Lexington interviewed Dr. Richard Cahill, Director of International Education, about the current political situation in Egypt.  Video and a write-up of the interview are available at wtvq.com.

    Freeman-ASIA receives new funding

    • Posted on by Webteam
    • We are pleased to share good news from the Institute of International Education (IIE) that the Freeman Awards for Study in Asia (Freeman-ASIA) program has been re-launched beginning with Summer 2011.  Freeman-ASIA, made possible by a grant from the Freeman Foundation, provides need-based funding of up to $3000 for a summer program of at least eight weeks in duration, up to $5000 for a semester, or up to $7000 for an academic year.  To be eligible, applicants must be US citizens or permanent residents at the undergraduate level who are planning to study abroad in East or Southeast Asia.

      For more information about Freeman-ASIA, including application instructions, visithttp://www.iie.org/freeman-asia/.

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