Fulbright Friday: An Interview with Berea Graduate Marty Miller

What did you learn from your Fulbright experience?

Marty MillerI received an English Teaching Assistantship from the Fulbright Program, which provides funding for students, teachers, and professionals to work, teach, or do research abroad. I taught secondary English at two college-prep schools (called Gymnasium) in Nuremberg, Germany. I was assigned 14 different classes each roughly 20-30 students in size, and I was mainly involved in sparking discussion with and creating/giving lessons to these classes. We talked about a huge variety of topics related to American culture/history/ literature; everything from politics and gun control to rap music and the civil rights movement.

The biggest thing I learned was the direction I wanted to take in life moving forward. Since I was only giving lessons 12 hours per week (and always had Friday off!), I had a lot of time to explore my interests and figure out what I actually enjoyed and what I merely tolerated. That isn’t strictly related to the program itself, but it was the biggest thing I took away from the experience. From the experience directly, the biggest takeaway was probably how differently people from around the world understand their role in society. Germans are much more supportive of governmental activities to help the poor, even if that means much higher taxes; there’s more of a consensus that these programs benefit everyone in the long run. This isn’t so much the case here in the U.S, but living in a different culture, with Germans, I learned that this isn’t the default, that maybe these values are social constructs we have created and we can change.

Why should Berea students apply for the Fulbright?

There are a few reasons I think Berea students should apply for a Fulbright. First, it really is a once in a lifetime opportunity. I was able to visit 6 different countries and probably almost 50 cities during my 10 months abroad. All on my (roughly) $1100 a month stipend! Most students with a Berea background simply don’t have the resources to make this happen, I know I wouldn’t have otherwise. This brings me to my second point, Berea students have a unique advantage in the application process: we’re diverse (by Fulbright’s standards)! We represent a niche of applicants that the Fulbright program desperately lacks, people of color and those from low socio-economic backgrounds (this is purely based on my assessment of the people I met through the program).

Any wisdom you would like to offer them?

If you’re considering a program like this, I can’t recommend it enough. It was an astounding experience that showed me things about the world and myself that it would have been hard to discover otherwise. Play to your strengths in your application, have everyone and their brother/mother/sister read over it, go to the CTL, and overall just take the application process very seriously. Fulbright is a highly regarded fellowship/assistantship, and competition is fierce. That being said, I think Berea students are great applicants. I did it, and I think you can too. #fulbrightfriday #bereaabroad

If you want to apply, September 30 is Berea’s campus deadline. Click here for more information.

By Kerstin Wright, Center for International Education Education Abroad Team

 

Gilman Scholarship Application Cycle Opens

On August 11, 2015, the Gilman Scholarship application window opened for Spring 2016 applications (and early Summer notification as well). Berea College students have won dozens of these national study abroad scholarships, which can be as high as $5000… $8,000 if a critical language scholarship is included).

Start your application today!

Want some application tips? Stop by our office at Woods-Penn 205 or shoot an email to Education Abroad Advisor Ann Butwell at ann_butwell@berea.edu

#BereaAbroad

One Hip Watson Winner

Loreal Bell at 1-2-3

Hip Hop Artist Loreal “Queen Victoria” Bell became a Thomas J. Watson Fellow in 2013—one of 40 nationwide.  As she reflects back on her experience of a year of fully-funded independent travel, it is clear that The Watson provides unparalleled exploration for graduating college seniors. At Berea, applications are due every September 15 for students who are graduating that December of the following May.

When Queen conceived her dream-year integrating her unique experience, proven skills and passion, she landed on the project: “Prisoner of Words (P.O.W.) [_____]: A Look into Feminist Euro Hip Hop Artists.” It led her to the United Kingdom, Italy, Germany and Austria, where she used interviews and documentary production as a tool for connecting with masculine women from the LGBTQ community who are involved in Hip hop culture.

What did she get out of her Watson year?

  • A sense of community and the concept of abundance and generosity. Three times complete strangers who became instant friends offered her the keys to their home so she would have a place to stay while they were away. That sense of people taking care of each other has inspired her expand her initiatives to promote, sharing, bartering and the exchange of professional services, with a small team of like minded individuals—no money involved.
  • The experience of collaboration. Women all over Europe invited her to give workshops and collaborate with her on projects. All though most of her time was spent on “P.O.W. [_____],” she maintains contact with all of them. They now form an essential part of Loreal’s world, where ideas abound and there is never enough time to incorporate all of them.
  • A sense of purpose. “I realized I could influence people in a positive way to think more critically,” she explained. Currently, Loreal is working at Berea’s own Partners in Education as a VISTA Volunteer. An arts visionary, she also is building up a local non-profit called Bobtown Arts in conjunction with Phillip Wiggs, Vicky and Clarence Hayes. Already replete with property and a community kiln, this arts residency program will feature space for artists to live-in while they work on their specialty, which could range from something traditional like pottery or weaving to newer mixed media forms of art. The residencies will include encouragement for musicians, filmmakers and writers.
  • A commitment to life-long learning. Loreal now tries to learn something new every single day.

What advice would she offer student applicants?

  • Be courageous and bold.
  • Plan, plan, plan. “Have a Plan A and a Plan B and a Plan C; be open to changing and helping your project evolve as you move through the year,” she remarked.
  • Get ready to get lost. If you are prepared to experience ambiguity and uncertainty, you will allow yourself to get lost in the flow of the year. That may lead to moments when you get literally or figuratively lost. “That’s okay,” she quipped, “I met the people who became most important to my project during those times when I got lost.”

Any Regrets?

  • “I only wish it was a two-year fellowship,” she said. The experience ended too soon. But that’s not stopping her from continuing her docu-series. She’ll return to Berlin in September to attend the Queer Film Festival there and do more filming, interviewing, collaborating and—you guessed it—learning!

#WatsonWednesday #BereaAbroad

 

Berea College Grad Wins Prestigious AIF Clinton Fellowship

The Center for International Education at Berea College is proud to announce that Janice D’Souza has been named as a 2015-2016 American India Foundation Clinton Fellow.

Janice graduated from Berea College in May of 2014 with a degree in Women’s and Gender Studies. She was active in the leadership of student government and a host of organizations while enrolled.

The American India Foundation (AIF) is dedicated to catalyzing social and economic change in India and building a lasting bridge between the United States and India. They were created in 2001 when President Clinton and Prime Minister of India Atal Bihari Vajpayee saw the need for a philanthropy platform that would connect the two countries. The American Indian Foundation has taken it upon itself, and succeeded, in making opportunities for India’s poor to live successful, productive lives while making a changing the lives of India’s less fortunate. They have successfully raised over 100 million dollars and impacted over 2.5 million lives.

One of the ways AIF Clinton has impacted lives is by pairing young professionals with leading NGO’s and social enterprises in India in order to “accelerate impact and create effective projects that are replicable, scalable, and sustainable.”

In an attempt to connect India and the United States, they have now expanded to include young Indians to work alongside fellows from the U.S.  Janice is originally from India, so she is part of this new fellowship trend. She will be placed with KC Mahindra Education Trust in Mumbai and will be working with two teams: Nanhi Kali (Girlhood Education Project) and Mahindra Pride School (Livelihood/Vocational training). The Nanhi Kali project was initiated in 1996 and tries to provide primary education to disadvantaged young girls in India. And Mahindra Pride School works with underprivileged youth by teaching them livelihood training to gain employment based skills.

We are excited for this impressive opportunity for Janice and know that she will make a big impact on India, the US and the world through this fellowship. We wish her well in this next chapter of her life.

Article by Robin Davis

Watson Wednesday: Tuvshinzaya Amarzaya

We are proud to announce that this year Tuvshinzaya Amarzaya, out of 700 candidates, is a winner of the prestigious Watson fellowship.

Her project—“Evolution of Cultural and Individual Identity Through Martial Arts”—will take her to China, Japan, Brazil, and France to explore how changes in Shaolin Kung Fu, Ninjutsu, Capoeira, and Parkour practices affect martial artists’ sense of self.

She begins her journey this summer.

“As a firm believer in the transformative power of martial arts, I want to see how the martial artist’s sense of identity is affected by his or her practice. Everything that I tried and experienced left a mark on me and helped shape who I am today, but the martial arts carry a particular weight, as the practitioners take up philosophies and principles in addition to the physical training.”

In her own words, Tuvshinzaya reminds us that the Watson Fellowship’s uniqueness is “a chance to pursue your quirky passions and childhood dreams over a year of independent and meaningful travel.”

She encourages everyone at Berea to apply because, “Even the planning and daydreaming are full of surprises and self-discovery!” Please visit the Center for International Education’s page for additional information: www.berea.edu/cie/thomas-j-watson-fellowship/.

Applications are due on September 15th, 2015 if you are graduating in December 2015 or May 2016.

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 short, to develop future leaders who are self-reflective, well-informed, mindful citizens of the world.

Watson Wednesday: Alexander Gibson

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.

Alexander’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.

Find more information on how to apply for the Watson Fellowship.

Applications due on Sept. 15th, 2015.

Watson Wednesday: Thom Price

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.Thom Price

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.

Find more information on how to apply for the Watson Fellowship.

Applications due on Sept. 15th, 2015.

Watson Wednesday: Dylan Hunziker

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 diaspora 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.

Find information and apply for the Watson Fellowship.
Applications due on Sept. 15th, 2015.

Nine Berea College Students Awarded Prestigious International Scholarship to Study Abroad

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.

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.”