Erin Bush in Turkey
UNM student Erin Bush in Turkey.
Three University of New Mexico students have received financial awards to study and teach abroad during the 2014-2015 academic year, announced Mary Anne Saunders, special assistant to the president for global initiatives, Global Education Office.
 
Encouraging students to apply for financial awards earmarked for study abroad is key to achieving UNM President Robert Frank’s 2020 goal of tripling the number of UNM students participating in outbound study abroad programs, especially curricula in non-traditional languages and underrepresented cultural areas.

“We couldn’t be more pleased for these students and we are certain they will represent UNM extremely well,” Saunders said. “These awards emphasize the fundamental importance of a global education for UNM students and its role in preparing them to be successful international citizens and leaders.”

Latin American Studies major Erin Bush, who will be a fourth-year undergraduate student for fall semester, was notified she will receive the Boren Scholarship to study in Turkey. David L. Boren Scholarships and Fellowships are sponsored by the National Security Education Program (NSEP) as part of a major federal initiative designed to build a broader and more qualified pool of U.S. citizens with foreign language and international skills.

The scholarship provides up to $20,000 to U.S. undergraduate students to acquire language skills and cultural experience in areas of the world that are underrepresented and critical to U.S. interests. In exchange for funding, Boren award recipients agree to work in the federal government for a period of at least one year. Bush explained that her interest in Turkey was inspired during a weeklong visit to the country’s largest city last June.

“I fell in love with Istanbul's culture, architecture and food,” Bush said. “Turkish is not a commonly taught or studied language and knowing it could help me in future careers. I have already started learning basic phrases [and] I view this type of learning as critical for diplomacy between countries.”

The U.S. Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) announced last week that UNM undergraduate student Megan Kashmer will receive the U.S. Department of State Critical Language Scholarship (CLS). She will be fully funded to study the Russian language for two months this summer in Kazan, located in the Russian Republic of Tatarstan.

Kashmer, a fourth-year student majoring in Russian, is one of 550 U.S. undergraduate and graduate students who received a scholarship from the CLS program this year, which also is part of the U.S. government’s effort to expand the number of Americans studying and mastering critical foreign languages. Kashmer originally traveled to Russia on her own in 2008.

"I enjoyed my time in Russia so much that after I returned I decided that I had to learn the language better and go back,” Kashmer said. “I am really looking forward to increasing my fluency by being able to focus on learning the language better. When I am in Russia, the only thing I will have to worry about is learning Russian."

Amanda Wolfenbarger, a UNM elementary education graduate student, will receive the Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship (ETA) Grant to teach English in the Republic of Azerbaijan for the upcoming academic year. Azerbaijan is situated near Turkey, Russia, Armenia and Iran.

The Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship (ETA) program, an element of the Fulbright U.S. Student Program, also is sponsored and managed by ECA. The Fulbright ETA program fosters mutual understanding between the U.S. and other countries by providing a native English speaker’s presence in a range of educational institutions. Fulbright ETA’s help strengthen English language instruction overseas, as well as provide cultural insights in the classroom.

Other scholarships also are available to students wishing to study abroad, including the UNM Regents’ International Study Grant, the Student Fee Review Board Grant and the UNM Blog Scholarship.

Of particular note, through the efforts of the UNM Board of Regents and the Office of the Provost, the Regents’ Grant program will award a total of $125,000 to students wishing to study abroad during the 2014-15 academic year. The amount is a 67 percent increase from last year’s total monetary awards of $75,000. The special award was designed by the UNM Board of Regents to increase the number of UNM students able to participate in international education programs.

“Often times, students think they cannot afford to study abroad. But our advisors can help students find funding they might not know about and guide them through the application process,” said Ken Carpenter, associate director for UNM Study Abroad. “We want to continue helping more students study abroad, and that conversation often starts by discussing with students how they will finance their trip. The first step is for students to come to the Study Abroad office and speak with an advisor.”

The Study Abroad office holds walk-in advising hours Monday through Friday from 1 to 3 p.m. Come to Room 2120 in Mesa Vista Hall to speak to a Study Abroad advisor. Students are also encouraged to come to the Study Abroad 101 sessions, currently being held every week on Wednesdays and Thursdays from 1 to 1:30 p.m. Students should meet in the front office of Mesa Vista Hall Room 2120. Students also are encouraged to visit the web site for more information: studyabroad.unm.edu