Three CHID Endowments Help Send Students Abroad 

Submitted by Suzanne St Peter on

The CHID Program benefits greatly from three generous endowments that support student engagement with the complexity of the world through exposure to other cultures. Each year, students who plan to participate in a CHID-sponsored study abroad program are invited to apply for scholarships funded by these endowments.

This year, six students received awards of between $400 and $1,000 to help defray their study abroad program expenses. Included below are excerpts from the awardees’ applications; in the Spring 2017 newsletter, these students will share reflections from their study abroad experiences.

The Emerging Scholars Award, funded by the Darlene Sherrick Endowed Fund for Undergraduate Research and Travel, supports CHID majors or minors who have had limited opportunities to study away from the University of Washington and who show exceptional promise as scholars. CHID majors Crystaline Brown and Sarah Clark both received $500 awards to participate in Summer 2016 study abroad programs.

Crystaline’s award application essay—in support of her participation in the Indigenous Sámi Culture and Connection to the Land in Arctic Europe study abroad program—included her reflection on the importance of the humanities in education: “We get to attend an indigenous music festival where people will perform from all over the world, and we will hear some of the music of the Sami people and learn about the relationship between sound and place. I think these types of experiences are undervalued in the face of cultural homogenization globally and the neo-liberal assault on the humanities in academia. This is sad, because I believe the humanities, and all the many things that fall under that umbrella term, will always teach people about important life lessons and histories, and empower people and teach them to think for themselves and be innovative.”

Sarah traveled to the Philippines with the Made in the U.S.A.: American Occupation, Identity Construction, and Social Action program. As part of her application essay, Sarah described how her experience will enhance her CHID Senior Thesis: “…I am writing about the influence that colonial medicine in the Philippines and plantation medicine in the American south has had on the development of metropolitan medicine in the United States. I think that opportunity to study the complex relationship between the United States and the Philippines further would give me an even better understanding of my research and possible future graduate research… I want to understand more about Filipino identity formation, export labor, and how communities and families are affected. I am including personal narratives in my thesis and I think this trip will also help me grasp a better understanding of the complex nature of the current society and just how much is needed, in many different facets, to create effective change.”

CHID minor Cristal Ramos was awarded the $1,000 Colin Wang Memorial Scholarship, sponsored through the Friends of Comparative History of Ideas Discretionary Fund, to participate in LGBTQ Communities and Change in Mexico City this past summer. In keeping with Colin’s belief that humor is the key to drawing people together, applicants submit an original, humorous limerick that relates to their chosen study abroad program. Cristal’s entertaining, compelling limerick exemplifies the intentions of both the scholarship and her study abroad program:

Born this Way

Jake likes to wear dresses with an up-do

Something they said he shouldn’t pursue

His aunt said “You’re a boy,”

“Go play with your car toy!”

He replied, “Jealous ‘cuz I wore it better than you?”

Last, the MacRae Study Abroad Scholarship, funded by the Jane and Finlay MacRae Endowment for the Study of Peace, Reconciliation, and Conflict Resolution, supported three CHID majors with $400 each. Two of the three students, Margarita Elias and Keegan Laux, are currently in Berlin, Germany participating in the Global Urbanism: Stories, Strategies, and Struggles study abroad program.

In her application, Margarita responded to the question of how the program will help her pursue an academic project, requirement, or personal goal with this astute statement: “I know that attending this program will help me further develop an understanding for urbanization, its impacts trans-locally and how designing and planning affects displaced individuals and migration patterns, or vice-versa… I also hope that this program will give me clarity and greater understanding what urbanization entails in a planning context, and if I would like to proceed with that in city and/or policy planning as a possible career pathway.”

Keegan’s account of how he imagines the study abroad experience will challenge him relates to his “assumptions of queer identity formation.” He writes eloquently, “While I feel like I have developed a depth of knowledge that I am incredibly proud of regarding queer theories and considerations of space, exploring that in the context of another country half way around the world will be critical to developing a fuller and richer understanding of how queer identities form differently under vastly different conditions.”

While Margarita and Keegan are in Berlin, the third recipient, Xingyue Yang, is currently Between the East and West: Discovering Central Europe in Prague, Czech Republic. In her application essay, Xingyue articulates how the direct experience of a study abroad program will enhance her classroom learning: “By taking classes such as Europe Today, I got the chance to expose myself to lots of social aspects of Europe… All of these experiences prepare me to understand the world globally. However, memorizing lists of do’s and don’ts per culture only leads to bias and stereotypes. I wish to mingle with local culture, develop empathy towards people, and differentiate the experience from what I learned in class. So I’m not only a tourist or student, but also a local transformed by the places, people, and ideas I encounter in Prague.”

We are extremely proud of our students and our innovative study abroad programs that provide them with such rich cultural, transformational, and diverse learning experiences. If you wish to join us in supporting our students by contributing to one of the above endowments or our other gift funds, please visit the CHID Giving Webpage.

By Suzanne St Peter