As University of Cincinnati students get settled into winter quarter, some of them are still reflecting on some unforgettable study abroad opportunities that they experienced over the December break.
The University Honors Program coordinated two study abroad trips last month as part of a culminating experience of two autumn seminars: one in Ghana and the other in Gujarat, India. Watch a video of their memories here.
Nine Honors students traveled to Accra, Ghana, on a trip led by Carolette Norwood, an assistant professor in Africana Studies. The seminar examined women, population and development in developing countries emphasizing the political and economic underpinnings of population policies and their consequences for women in poor countries.
"The trip to Ghana was an absolutely amazing experience. In fact, every time I'm asked, I have a hard time finding the words to do this adventure justice, says Claire Hayden, a 19-year-old sophomore and social work major from Anderson Township.
"From the beautiful scenery to the interesting culture to the hospitable people, this is a trip I will cherish for a lifetime, says Hayden.
"The University Honors seminars offer so many avenues of opportunity to learn about a general topic in more depth and see how it applies on a world scale. I have learned multitudes about underdeveloped countries and how this economy impacts women. As a Social Work major, these are crucial topics to understand both from a global perspective, as well as how these issues relate back to America, says Hayden.
"This topic appealed to me mostly because of my current involvement with a nonprofit organization, Building Walls of Wisdom, says 19-year-old Olivia Schafer, a second-year middle-childhood-education major from Bond Hill.
"Through eradicating poverty by providing accessible education, Building Walls of Wisdom raises the funds to build schools in underdeveloped countries, and their most recent schools have been built in northern Ghana. Since I am in the process of establishing a student branch of BWoW here on campus, I thought the course would be complementary to my involvement with BWoW and provide some good background knowledge.
The University Honors Program comprises the top 7 percent of UC undergraduate students from across colleges and disciplines. University Honors focuses on unique and challenging academic and hands-on experiences that reflect the themes of community engagement, global study, leadership, research and the creative arts.
On another study abroad experience last month, a group of 12 UC students traveled to Gujarat, India. Their seminar was taught by the executive directors of Design Impact, a nonprofit social design organization that has provided design and development services to a nonprofit organization in India. The fall seminar examined international development and specifically focused on challenges involving water and rural development issues in India.
"I was very interested in taking this course for the new opportunities it has given me, says Mark Schutte, a fourth-year student from Mason, Ohio, who is majoring in civil engineering. "I have never been to Asia, and the culture and long history of India is incredible. As with any honors seminar, the class prior to the trip is always thought-provoking and challenging.
"My favorite part of the trip to India was getting such personal time with the women of the villages we visited, he said. "Being able to see how Sadguru had given them so much confidence and independence was truly inspiring.
"My trip to India was one-of-a-kind, says Carlo Cruz, a 21-year-old fourth-year chemical engineering major in the ACCEND program. "Not only was the country enjoyable, but also the people that I spent the duration of the trip with were phenomenal. The experience itself was helpful in my development as a scholar and scientist, but more importantly, as a human being.
"Honors seminars are an outlet for majors of all types. That is, I do not believe engineers at other universities acquire the same opportunities that I will have through this course. As an avid photographer, this class serves as a way to expand my creativity while contributing to a nonprofit's efforts to bring awareness to a global issue, says Cruz, who is from Centerville, Ohio. (Cruz also provided photography from the trip.)
This fall, the University Honors Program was awarded $100,000 in UC2019 funding to support global study. With this additional funding, the University Honors Program (UHP) will offer 11 study abroad opportunities in 2011-12. Raj Mehta, director of the University Honors Program, says thats a two-fold increase in the number of programs offered since last year and a 10-fold increase from 2006-07.