A growing number of students, welcomed to campus every year as part of The University of Alabama family, are enthusiastically joining UA’s global family by taking part in international programs to study, travel and work in different countries around the world.
Spending days on the French Riviera and evenings in fine Parisian restaurants sounds like a dream vacation for most. But for 20 University of Alabama students, it was all in a day’s work.
They traveled to Peru to improve drinking water and waste water systems in two villages. They significantly improved plumbing in several homes and restored an old baseball field in Hale County, Ala. They studied residential water sources in Cambodia as part of an ongoing quest to boost their quality.
According to late UA history professor John Ramsey— one of the most legendary, admired figures ever to teach at the University—the best way to appreciate the Old World foundation of our culture was to see its birthplace firsthand. Known for his boundless generosity and love of helping others, Dr. Ramsey served as a mentor to several generations of students during his 42 years on campus, which included advising (and even, in some cases, financing) overseas trips so students could view for themselves the places they’d discussed in his classes. And today, the University’s John Fraser Ramsey Award preserves that legacy for a handful of outstanding undergraduates.
To understand the environmental stewardship that Icelanders practice, you have to get out and live it: Take a hike. Plant a tree. Build a sod house. Work in a greenhouse. Live on a farm. That’s Dr. Michael K. Steinberg’s philosophy, and that’s also why he led a group of UA students to the island nation in May.
For Laura Dover, one memory perfectly captures the enchantment of her summer 2008 semester at England’s Oxford University. Having studied Matthew Arnold’s famed 1853 poem “The Scholar-Gipsy” in class, she and a group of other students ventured out to explore the nearby Cumnor Hills amid which the poem is set.
Andrew Gibbs isn’t your average University of Alabama senior. At 25, the Huntsville resident is a little older than most of his classmates. He was born in South Korea and adopted as an infant by an Alabama couple. And last year, thanks to a three-and-a-half-year hitch in the U.S. Coast Guard and a Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship, Gibbs finally got the chance to connect with his birth country.
Alana Smith had high expectations for her student teaching experience in Ireland, but she had no idea that it would change the course of her career.
In June 2009, Lauren Masters found herself standing before a bunch of eager faces in a bare-bones classroom in Sunyani, the capital city of Ghana’s Brong Ahafo region. She was teaching a class of teenagers about President Obama, who was soon to visit the West African nation, but she was learning a lot, too.
Studying for a semester in Cuba proved to be an eye-opening experience for a group of University of Alabama students. Although they came in with varied sets of expectations, they unanimously agree that they found the people of the island nation warm and welcoming.
No two students in UA’s International Honors Program (IHP) have exactly the same interests and ambitions. But they all have one thing in common: an appetite for adventure and exposure to new ideas.