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Notes from Lauren Weaver World Scholar 2011, Nicaragua

In Nicaragua I studied at la Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Nicaragua (UNAN). Three of the five classes were taken exclusively with Nicaraguans and all five were taught entirely in Spanish; each applied to my undergraduate studies. One of my favorite and most beneficial classes was Geography of Natural Resources and Environmental Education (La Geografía de Recursos Naturales y Educación Ambiental). The content of this class ranged from worldwide dispersion natural resources to specific examples of beauty and exploitation in Nicaragua with respect to resource management. My professor intentionally engaged me in the classroom to share my perspective and version of reality in the United States with my extremely kind and intelligent classmates who reciprocally shared their experiences with me. Part of this class was a 3-day field trip to the San Juan River (Rio San Juan), known as the most biologically diverse region in Nicaragua. I learned about cloud forests, saw biological diversity in the tropical flora and fauna, learned the “correct” way to eat an orange, and was startled at a demonic sound coming from the treetops which my classmates, after their laughter subsided, showed me was an expressive howler monkey.

World Scholar Lauren Weaver

My experience was not limited to classwork. The study abroad program that I chose focused on social justice issues in Nicaragua and Latin America and the many excursions exposed us to situations that were both depressing and inspirational. We worked with farmers in the countryside and played with their kids, saw neighborhoods squatting on sewage filled land beside landfills with nowhere else to go, heard the stories of masses suffering from Chronic Kidney Failure from overexposure to pesticides on Sugar Cane Plantations, witnessed presidential elections in the still recently revolutionized country, and so much more. I also volunteered at a retirement home, the Home of the Ancients (El Hogar de los Ancianos). There I would sit for hours beside the elderly (los viejitos) listening, talking, painting nails, brushing hair, and near the end I brought a violin with me and played music to which they joyously responded, “Que Lindo”, or “How Sweet”. At the end of the day and the time abroad, the most challenging part of everything was learning to listen and be ok with not always knowing what exactly was going on. After I gained confidence in my language abilities, the challenge remained in remembering to listen and being comfortable with sharing. I was welcomed into the home of many Nicaraguan friends by them, their friends, and their families. The cultural exchange that took place in this context was also the most rewarding component of the short six-months I spent in Nicaragua.

Los Niños Campesinos – Although living in poverty, these children were rich. They live in the mountains of the countryside with at least three generations of their families that are mostly self-sufficient in their agriculture. I visited their little town with the other seven students of the program. The families were thrilled that, unlike the occasional foreign visitor, we spoke Spanish. In this picture the kids had taken me to a field surrounded by fruit trees where we ate and played for many carefree hours until the sunlight began to fade.

 

"World Scholars learn real life lessons"World Scholar Alex Marti

March 20th, 2007, UofL News

Several University of Louisville students are learning from experience what they could not learn from a book or in a classroom. As participants in the new World Scholars program, they are venturing beyond their comfort zones to immerse themselves in another language and culture.

Funded by the College of Arts and Sciences, the program provides undergraduates with up to $5000 to help fund a semester or year of study someplace where the principal language is not English.

Read more: World Scholars learn real life lessons

About the World Scholars Program

The World Scholars Program provides select undergraduate students with up to $5000 of funding to support a significant study experience in a country or region of the world whose principal language is not English.  Applicants must be actively committed to achieving fluency in the language of that country or region.  They must also be declared majors or minors in any of the non-language disciplines offered at the University of Louisville and endeavor, to the degree possible, to study the material of that discipline while abroad (whether through full-immersion coursework, service learning, internship placement, directed study, etc.). 

Students studying any of the modern languages offered at the University of Louisville (Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish) are encouraged to apply.

Upon their return, World Scholars will work with a faculty advisor on a final project (such as an honors thesis, a community service project, or an application for a major national fellowship) that integrates their international experience with their undergraduate studies at U of L.  They may also work with the International Center as peer advisors, helping to recruit and prepare other students for study abroad.

 

World Scholar Spring 2013 

 
Download: World Scholars Application 2013 (PDF)
Deadline: February 28, 2013

 

REQUIREMENTS AT TIME OF APPLICATION:

  • must be a full-time undergraduate student who has achieved at least sophomore standing at the time of application.
  • must have a declared major or minor in any of the non-language disciplines offered at the University of Louisville.
  • must have a minimum GPA of 3.0 overall and be in good academic standing.
  • must commit to participating in a full semester or a year of study abroad in 2013-14 in a country or region of the world whose principal language is not English.  (To explore study abroad options that meet the requirements of the World Scholars Program, make an appointment with a study abroad advisor at edabroad@louisville.edu.)
  • must be actively committed to achieving fluency in the language of that country or region, ideally through ongoing study of the language.  (Preference will be given to applicants who can already demonstrate at least intermediate-level proficiency.)
  • must commit to completing a post-travel integrative project while still in residence at the University of Louisville. (Students who intend to travel in their final semester of undergraduate studies are not eligible for funding.)
  • NOTE: preference will be given to applicants who are not native speakers of the country to which they intend to travel.

MATERIALS TO BE SUBMITTED:

  1. one set of the complete application, submitted in the original copy. Application includes:
    • the application form signed by both you and the undergraduate advisor in your major department;
    • five brief essays (instructions on page two of the application form);
    • published information on the study abroad program you’ve selected (e.g., a program brochure, printout of a website, etc.);
    • a detailed program budget (form available at the International Center) and a program budget and financial aid disclosure form (page three of the application form) prepared in collaboration with Virginia Hosono, assistant director of study abroad; and
    • a current resume listing educational history, work history, extracurricular activities, previous foreign travel, and any other exceptional experiences or qualifications, and 

    • your unofficial transcripts (including current coursework).
  2. two recommendations, at least one of which should be from a faculty member in your non-language field of study. RECOMMENDERS WILL RETURN THE FORM TO YOU IN A SEALED/SIGNED ENVELOPE.
  3. the language evaluation form, filled out by an instructor in the language of the country or region to which you intend to travel. EVALUATOR WILL RETURN THE FORM TO YOU IN A SEALED/SIGNED ENVELOPE.

IMPORTANT: Please use single-sided pages throughout the application. Use no staples or paper clips. You will submit one complete application, plus three sealed/signed envelopes.

APPLICATION SCHEDULE

February 28, 2013.  Application and all supporting materials must be submitted by 4 p.m. to:

Jessica Fletcher, Senior Program Assistant
International Center
101 Brodschi Hall

Week of Monday, March 4th:  Interviews with finalists will be scheduled.

Week of Monday, March 18th:  Final results will be announced.

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