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UW welcomes Humphrey fellows

The University of Washington’s Evans School of Public Affairs is hosting ten Hubert H. Humphrey Fellows this year. Mid-career professionals from a variety of fields, this year’s fellows hail from Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and South America. Humphrey fellows are selected for their dedication to public service and potential for leadership.

Only 17 U.S. universities host Humphrey fellows each year. Since 1987, UW has hosted more than 300 fellows from 100 nations. Kenneth Peavler coordinates a weekly leadership seminar for the fellows on campus. He sees UW as an ideal base for Humphrey fellows, offering “world class opportunities”.

Fellow Naseer Uddin Sarwar, Director of Pakistan’s Department of the Auditor General, will focus on issues of government accountability and transparency during his time at UW. “I aim to develop a personal relationship with the Evans School, and to strengthen the relationship between Pakistan and the U.S.,” he says.

Paula Correa, a Uruguayan fellow who serves as the Entrepreneurship Programs Specialist in her country’s Ministry of Industry, Energy and Mining, is excited to learn about and use new technologies while at UW. She says, “I’m taking a class where the students are all in front of computers… it’s totally new for me and not what I expected from a university course”.

Throughout the year, the Hubert H. Humphrey Fellows Presentation Series will feature talks by the current fellows highlighting their expertise. On November 21, fellow Estelle Antilahy will present “Challenges toward Water Supply and Management in Developing Countries: A Case Study of Madagascar”. Follow the UW Hubert H. Humphrey Fellows on Facebook for updates on future presentations.

Back: Mohamed Elkaramany (Egypt), Bakhadur Khabibov (Tajikistan), Naseer Uddin Sarwar (Pakistan) Middle: Mohammed Laid Slougui (Algeria), Bo Liu (China), Seokhoon Cho (Republic of Korea) Front: Estelle Antilahy (Madagascar), Paula Correa (Uruguay), Aziza Msaaf (Morocco), Maria Lille (Estonia)
Back: Mohamed Elkaramany (Egypt), Bakhadur Khabibov (Tajikistan), Naseer Uddin Sarwar (Pakistan)
Middle: Mohammed Laid Slougui (Algeria), Bo Liu (China), Seokhoon Cho (Republic of Korea)
Front: Estelle Antilahy (Madagascar), Paula Correa (Uruguay), Aziza Msaaf (Morocco), Maria Lille (Estonia) Photo: Evans School of Public Affairs


Study Abroad Fair connects students to a world of opportunities

fair 1Today on the University of Washington campus, over 1200 students visited the annual Study Abroad Fair in Mary Gates Hall Commons. International universities such as Waseda University, Universidad de Guadalajara, and University of Bristol, as well as representatives from UW faculty-led programs, scholarship programs, and other organizations – over 60 in all – were on hand to provide information about the many opportunities available for study, research, and internships abroad. Study Abroad Peer Mentors and International Programs & Exchanges staff members were available during the fair to direct students to appropriate resources and provide new ideas. Student participants could also attend information sessions during the fair, including several on study abroad scholarships.

Study Abroad Peer Advisers Samantha Walters, Melissa Wong, and Jackie Lungmus
Study Abroad Peer Advisers Samantha Walters, Melissa Wong, and Jackie Lungmus

“The Study Abroad Fair creates a really exciting atmosphere for students,” says Mike Renes, a Study Abroad Adviser and Regional Lead, “they can come into the Office of International Programs & Exchanges any day for advising and learn about program options, but getting to talk with a Program Director or alumni of a program makes it real for them and gives them a good sense of the kind of experience they’ll have on the ground. That’s what the Study Abroad Fair is all about.”

fair2The Office of International Programs & Exchanges plans to hold the Study Abroad Fair at the HUB next year to provide room for additional participants and information sessions. “We’re very excited to move the fair to a new home in the HUB,” says Renes, “the new space will give the fair room to grow. Even students who come in thinking study abroad may not be possible will have the chance to come and learn everything they need to know… from program options to how to fund it.”

[VIDEO] Tahiti becomes UW athletes’ second home

This summer, 11 Husky football and softball players participated in a unique study abroad program to Tahiti. Facilitated by UW Athletics and the Department of Anthropology, the two-week-long program allowed UW student-athletes to connect with Tahitian community members by sharing their passion for sport. The program’s shorter time frame allowed them to maintain their rigorous training schedule. Participating student-athletes made big sacrifices to join the trip. “They had to choose between [using the break] to visit family or study abroad,” says Liberty Bracken, an Academic Adviser for UW Student-Athlete Academic Services who coordinated the program.

Tahitian club football players at a clinic
Tahitian club football players at a clinic Photo: Liberty Bracken

While in Tahiti, the UW football players facilitated nightly clinics for 5 Tahitian-American football teams. The softball players introduced local women and girls to their female-dominated sport. Female athletes are a novelty in Tahiti, where most women do not participate in organized sports. “Watching [UW softball player] Kaitlin Inglesby pitch was very impressive… the women began to think of the players as great role models for Tahitian girls,” says Bracken. Off the field, the Husky athletes connected with Tahitian culture by teaching English through PE classes at Punavai Elementary School, where they met with 17 classes and over 400 students.

The trip was also academically focused, and the student-athletes engaged in lectures and field trips related to topics of local interest, including the impact of decolonization and nuclear testing. In addition, the athletes kept journals to note their observations about Tahitian culture, politics, language, and identity.

UW athletes and Tahitian hosts practice a traditional dance
UW athletes and Tahitian hosts practice a traditional dance Photo: Liberty Bracken

UW football and softball players made meaningful and long-lasting connections with the Tahitian community through the program. “The kindness and generosity of the UW athletes in coaching and mentoring Tahitian teams made a huge difference,” says Bracken, “the student athletes were so open to learning about the Tahitian players’ lives and journeys… football and softball helped to facilitate that.”

When it was time for the student-athletes to return home, over 60 community members came to the airport to bid them farewell. The emotional sendoff was a fitting end to a transformative experience for 11 Huskies, in which, as they put it, “Tahiti became our second home.”

Exchange Student Social unites visiting and returning students

This week, visiting international exchange students and UW students returning from international university exchanges met and socialized in the University District. UW hosts over 200 exchange students every year from countries all over the world. Meanwhile, over 170 UW students pursue direct exchanges at universities abroad.

For the international exchange students, who have been in Seattle for just a few days, the event was a chance to meet new friends and get acquainted with the campus and community they will call home for the next few months. Returning students came to connect with friends made at international universities and share their knowledge of UW with new friends.

The crowd at the social
The crowd at the social Photo: Sara Stubbs
Peachayaporn Pongsarojanavit, Liu Ling Ling, and Luca Orlando at the Exchange Student Social
Peachayaporn Pongsarojanavit, Ling Liu, and Luca Orlando Photo: Sara Stubbs

Over hamburgers, Luca Orlando of Bocconi University in Italy chatted with Ling Liu and Peachayaporn Pongsarojanavit, both from the Chinese University of Hong Kong.  All three students are living on campus and excited to learn more about all that UW has to offer.

“The campus is really peaceful and friendly,” said Luca, “in Italy we don’t have anything like [UW], with the buildings all together and parks in between.” All three students came to campus without much knowledge of Seattle or the Puget Sound region, but they are all ready to begin their studies and take advantage of UW’s diverse academic offerings.  They plan to pursue courses in finance, biological sciences, and Swedish language.

Kellie Nada, Yusuke Tanaka, Ethan Dill, and Gaku Murakami
Kellie Nada, Yusuke Tanaka, Ethan Dill, and Gaku Murakami Photo: Sara Stubbs

Not far away, Japanese students Gaku Murakami of Kyoto University and Yusuke Tanaka of Kobe University were ‘friending’ Kellie Nada and Ethan Dill on Facebook. Ethan and Kellie are UW students just returning from an exchange to Waseda University in Japan, and had met Gaku and Yasuke through mutual friends. Because of this connection, Yusuke is living in a group house with Kellie. All four students agree that connecting visiting and returning students is a great way to make friends and extend relationships built abroad.


GO! Scholar gives back through Study Abroad Peer Mentor program

Biochemistry major and aspiring pediatrician Melissa Wong embarked on a unique, self-directed study abroad in 2012. Through an independent study course with the UW Asian Languages department, she earned academic credit for completing an ohenro, or pilgrimage, to 88 temples scattered across the Japanese island of Shikoku. The journey, which Melissa made by bike, bus, car, train, and foot, took her across 750 miles of countryside. A Husky Promise student, Melissa studied abroad with the support of a GO! Scholarship. Funded by the Washington State Legislature, GO! Scholarships support study abroad opportunities for students with significant financial need.

Temple visit
At a temple, on her last day of pilgrimage Photo: Melissa Wong

Melissa bloged about her journey to the temples of Shikoku.  She sums up her experiences in the following blog entry, made after visiting the final temple:

One of the most important gifts I received was courage and bravery. I am willing to take more risks and not be afraid of the unknown. The old Melissa would never bike to 88 temples, take initiative to meet new people, and travel out of her boundaries. This is something you can never learn from textbooks.

Now back on the UW campus, Melissa is giving back by serving as a Study Abroad Peer Mentor. The peer mentorship program, facilitated by International Programs & Exchanges, connects undergraduates just back from studying abroad with students considering a similar experience. “When I saw the opportunity to become a Peer Mentor, I thought it would be a great opportunity to give back after receiving the GO! Scholarship,” she explains.

A pre-med biochemistry major, Melissa hopes that she can inspire fellow science majors to study abroad.  She wants to show that it’s possible and very beneficial to work around sequential courses and busy schedules to study abroad. “I learned so much from the people I met in Japan,” Melissa explains, “…to go with the flow and do what I like, and see how it connects to my future goals later. Everything I’ve done since getting back has been influenced by my experiences in Japan.”

After returning from her study abroad, Melissa took Astronomy 101, just because the subject interests her. “Since then, I’ve been working with Professor Fraser on the Mobile Planetarium, where we teach 1st and 2nd graders about astronomy. I think volunteering as a teacher will help me become a better pediatrician.” Melissa’s journey with study abroad doesn’t stop with peer mentorship. She will travel to South Korea this fall with the Family & Child Nursing: Culture, Immigration & Health Exploration Seminar, and she hopes to engage in a direct exchange or internship abroad next year.

Students engage in a Spanish community through storytelling


Dr. Anna Witte leads the dynamic Spanish Children’s Literature: Creative Reading, Writing and Storytelling study abroad program at the UW Leon Center in northwestern Spain. The Center is housed in the 16th century tower of El Palacio del Conde Luna, a gothic palace that was formerly the seat of the Kingdom of Leon and today hosts a museum and performance space. Its location in and strong connection to the Leon community makes the center an ideal place for Dr. Witte’s program, which engages UW undergraduates in local culture and life through homestays, school visits and teaching opportunities, as well as live performance.  In the classroom, students explore the craft of storytelling through a survey of Spanish children’s literature course, pupeteering workshop, and several group projects.

Working with puppets
Working with puppets Photo: Matthew London

“There’s nothing like learning about how children grow up, how they relate to adults and other kids, to learn about another culture,” says Dr. Witte.  Her program provides many opportunities for cultural exploration through the lenses of child development, teaching, and storytelling.  Much of her students’ time is spent engaging hands-on in local schools and in the Leon community.  Students visit a local public and private school, first observing and then returning several weeks later to give lessons in English and Spanish.  The lessons are great opportunities for the UW students to put their new teaching through storytelling skills in action.  “Schools in Leon are basically bi-lingual,” explains Dr. Witte, and local educators are excited for American students to participate in their classrooms.

Performing for an audience - with wolf ears
Performing for an audience – with wolf ears Photo: Matthew London

The program culminates with a public storytelling event at the Leon Center, organized and performed by the program students.  The free event is publicized by the Leon Mayor’s office, and tickets sell out on the first day!  This spring, UW students performed a “story salad”, mixing together several familiar stories, a song, and a puppet show for the audience of 30 youngsters.  Because the event’s theme was “The Wolf”, one group even made wolf ears for every child in the audience!

Celebrating the performance
Celebrating the performance Photo: Matthew London

“This was the best experience of my 30-year teaching career,” says Dr. Witte. “The program showed students that being in the classroom is a lot of work, but they ended up wanting more interaction with the children!  I look forward to building even closer relationships with schools in Leon.”  These partnerships will no doubt benefit children in Leon as well as UW study abroad students.

Dr. Witte watches the perfomance
Dr. Witte watches the perfomance Photo: Matthew London