University of Delaware
UD's Institute for Global Studies held a luncheon to thank faculty members who have contributed to the success of study abroad. Sharing their stories were students (from left) Simone Austin, Olivia Curzi and Justin Swan.

Study abroad 'thanks'

Faculty, departments honored for contributions to successful study abroad


9:16 a.m., March 6, 2014--The annual “faculty thank you luncheon” hosted by the University of Delaware’s Institute for Global Studies was held Tuesday, March 4, to recognize the work of not only faculty who host programs, but also the departments that help make study abroad possible. 

New programs and faculty directors from Summer Session 2013 and Winter Session 2014 were acknowledged for expanding UD study abroad through a variety of geographic locations and academic subjects. Other contributors responsible for making study abroad successful were recognized, such as the Office of Student Conduct, Student Financial Services, Student Health Services, Treasury Services and Procurement Services. 

Global Stories

Fulbright awards

Three University of Delaware students and an alumna have received word this spring that they will travel abroad as part of the newest class of Fulbright Student Program award winners.

Peace Corps plans

Two University of Delaware students, John McCarron and Bridgette Spritz, have been selected as Peace Corps volunteers and will serve in Ghana and Rwanda.

More than 1,100 students participated in UD study abroad programs led by 82 faculty members during summer 2013 and winter 2014.

Three students were nominated by staff and faculty to share their study abroad experiences during the luncheon. Justin Swan presented videos documenting adventures and lessons from his program to New Zealand, sponsored by the Department of Kinesiology and Applied Physiology and under the direction of Nancy Getchell, associate professor. His five short videos showcased the mountainous, lush and vast landscape of the country, and the discovery of new cultures.

Olivia Curzi studied leadership in Vietnam and Laos with professor Audrey Helfman, associate professor in the School of Public Policy and Administration, over the 2014 Winter Session. She said that her favorite part was being in a homestay in the mountains of Sapa, allowing Curzi to immerse herself in the culture.

She spoke of learning the “art of conversation,” awareness of herself and what was going on around her, and the difference between a traveler and a tourist. 

She learned that coming in first place for the program’s first activity, a scavenger hunt, actually meant she lost. Instead of taking her time, looking around, and absorbing everything around her, she rushed through the challenge, missing details of the exotic place around her. 

For Curzi’s final project, her group created the Exploring Eye Project, partnering UD students with university-aged students in Vietnam called the Hanoi Kids. They hope to start making videos to teach creativity, team building, problem solving and divergent thinking. 

Students in Vietnam will share videos, as well, promoting a cultural exchange of ideas. 

Admitting “I had the best time when I got lost,” Curzi expressed the excitement of becoming a traveler and not simply a tourist.

Gilman Scholar Simone Austin was determined not only to study anthropology in Brazil with director Carla Guerrón Montero, associate professor of anthropology, but also to gain the most from her experience in another country.

Sharing challenges that she faced, Austin made a conscious effort to experience Brazil as a “local.” One such challenge included an inoperable cable car and a resulting hike up the mountain at Santa Marta.

Austin’s advice for students considering studying abroad is to “go out there and take on a new country and culture. Get out of your comfort zone and see what your presence means abroad.” 

The three student speakers enthusiastically expressed the important impact that studying abroad had on their lives. The tests and challenges of living abroad have contributed to the new found feeling of global citizenship and readiness to take on the world. 

Interested in developing a study abroad program?

Faculty interested in developing a new Winter or Summer Session study abroad program can learn all the ins and outs of program proposals. Lisa Chieffo, associate director for study abroad, will be hosting a workshop titled “The World as a Classroom” on Monday, March 17, from 3:30-4:45 p.m. in 306 Gore Hall. 

A panel of experienced study abroad program directors will share ideas and experiences on program site selection, academic considerations, itinerary planning, recruitment and more.  Register by Friday, March 1, by sending an email to

UD’s study abroad program recently celebrated its 90th anniversary of sending students abroad. Widely regarded as the first study abroad program in the U.S., the University of Delaware sends more than 30 percent of its students abroad to earn college credits, acquire smart skills for the job market, gain new insights and perspectives, and develop a healthy dose of self-confidence.

For all things global, follow UDGlobal on Instagram and Twitter.

Article by Elizabeth Adams

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