The first DARA J. KAUFMAN Scholarship was awarded to a USM student in the Fall of 2007 and since then an additional 7 scholarships have been awarded to USM students studying all over the world. These amazing scholarships have made study abroad opportunities possible for students who otherwise might not have been able to afford them.
The recipients have shared some of their insights about their journey and a few photos below. Enjoy!
- Fall 2011: Scott Clavette, Keele University, England
- Spring 2011: Brittany Michaud, University of Granada, Spain
- Fall 2010: Krista Jamison, Lorenzo di'Medici in Florence, Italy
- Spring 2010: Maria Burdick: University of Queensland, Australia
- Fall 2009 & Spring 2010: Andre Juarez: Beijing Language & Culture University, China
- Spring 2009: Sabrina Hammond, Yunnan University, China
- Spring 2008: Courtney Albin, Business Major, American University in Rome, Italy
- Fall 2007: Steven Carlock, History Major, University of Winchester in Winchester, England
Kristina Jamison: Lorenzo di'Medeici in Italy
I am an Art Student at the University of Southern Maine and in the Fall of 2010 I studied abroad in Florence, Italy. I learned more about art, culture and myself then I could have ever imagined. I inst a ntly found myself intrigued and excited when landing in Florence. The city was already beautiful. I met some amazing people from all over the world and got to travel throughout Europe over the semester and tackled some of my main goals, like skiing in Switzerland and traveling to Germany for Oktoberfest, and that's just naming a few.
I found real comfort in the Italian culture and the county. I traveled throughout Italy and found the most magnificent views and sites I had ever seen, truly unexplainable. As an artist, I found so much inspiration from everything around me, that it made my classes inviting and refreshing. Some of my favorite experiences were drawing throughout the city of Florence, learning Italian, eating amazing Italian cuisine, discovering the European lifestyle and expanding my view on life as well as maturing as an individual.
Studying abroad has been the time of my life and has opened my eyes to the world. I'm already planning on going back. The scholarship helped me achieve many of my goals that I probably wouldn't have been able to do without it. I truly appreciate the help and support.
Andre Juarez: Beijing Language & Cultural University and Xian Intrnational Studies University in China
Wow! If I had to pick one word to describe my time in China it would be wow. There are just so many amazing things I saw and participated in that I don’t quite know where to start, so I guess the beginning is as good as any. I started my interest in China when I was a child. Like most kids, I found anything Chinese to be foreign and strange, yet really cool at the same time. Dragons, the Great Wall, Kung Fu, and of course, Chinese food (which isn’t really Chinese food at all). I entered USM in the fall of 2006 and took my first Chinese course with Professor Zhao in the fall of 2008. After that course I knew immediately what I wanted to study and do with my life. I applied to the Alliance for Global Education and was accepted into their Beijing and Xi’an programs.
My first semester was in the ever more modern, unbelievably large metropolis of Beijing. Describing the size to someone who has never been in a city of its magnitude is hard to do. There I started my Chinese language studies, and made really slow progress. The language was very hard for me to learn. While I was in Beijing, I lived in an international dorm and met tons of people from all over the world. My next stop was Xi’an, China for the spring semester. The best way to describe Xi’an for someone familiar with USM, would be to imagine a city like Portland…and now place 6 million people in it. Xi’an is a very crammed city with 6 million Chinese living a very traditional Chinese lifestyle. Most people have never come into contact with many foreigners, and knowing how to speak Chinese is crucial. My language level made great progress while in Xi’an. In Xi’an my coursework focused on the study of the Silk Road, and we took two excursions to ancient cities along the Silk Road. The first trip focused around Xiahe, the city where the 2008 Tibetan riots broke out in China. There I played basketball with Tibetan Monks 10,000 ft up in the mountains, and met a living Buddha. My next trip was to Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, where we traveled to the ancient city of Kashgar, hiked sand dunes in the Taklamakan desert, and much more. Xinjiang is a wholly Muslim country where the population is made up primarily of Uighur Muslims. For this reason I was able to learn a great deal of Uighur language as well. As a Muslim myself I found this part of my trip to be particularly exciting and interesting. In Kashgar I was even able to pray in one of the oldest Mosques in the world. The best part about my Silk Road trip was that a film crew followed us on our journey in order to make a documentary! All in all my trip was the trip of a life time. I have done things and seen things I thought was never possible. I am the first person in my family to travel abroad, and I would not have been able to do that without the funds provided by the Kaufman scholarship. It truly made a huge difference. Furthermore, and most importantly, I have made friendships with kids from all around the world that will last a lifetime.
Sabrina Hammond: Yunnan University in China
This February I left the U.S. to study Mandarin Chinese at Yunnan University in China. This is something I had dreamed about for years, but until then had never really thought I'd be able to make it a reality. Although I had been accepted into the study abroad program, I wasn't sure where I was going to come up with the money. When I found out I was the recipient of the Kaufman scholarship, I finally knew I was going to China! Studying abroad impacted me in so many ways. I got to study what I am passionate about and use it on a daily basis. I learned to appreciate a culture with completely different values from my own, and I taught my international friends about American culture. Best of all, I made friends from not just China but all over the world who I will continue to stay in contact with. One of my favorite experiences was winning third place in my school's (the International Students College of Yunnan University) karaoke competition! I also loved going out to lunch with my teachers and classmates - which happened on numerous occasions. My Chinese teachers ordered popular, authentic dishes for the table which we all ate family-style. The thing I cherish the most, though, was meeting a young Chinese girl who became my best friend and later, my roommate. She showed me great kindness, caring, and respect, helped me when I was confused, and taught me how to cook real Chinese food!"
Courtney Albin: American University in Rome, Italy
I always worked while I went to school and took out a sizeable loan to pay for study study abroad, so the Kaufman Scholarship allowed me to have a source of money to be able to experience Europe while I was there. The faith showed in me by awarding the scholarship made me feel I would not be doing it justice if I didn't see and experience as much as I could while I was there. Travel was expensive with the low value of the dollar so to have the opportunity to travel made this the experience of a lifetime.
I had the opportunity to see and experience things that others never had the opportunity to do. My Art History class was an onsite class that allowed me to actually see Art that others here only see and read about in text books or on slides. History of Rome was my favorite class and I actually got to to to the site of the Chariot Races and the Ancient Roman ruins. Because I was there, I wanted to see where everything I read about had happened and actually feel the history and culture.
I was fortunate to have many amazing experiences. I traveled to Switzerland and despite having only been on skis three times in my life before, I went skiing down the Swiss Alps. Also, I went sky diving over the Alps. The inner strength I found I had and the sense of accomplishment were AMAZING. I also traveled to Barcelona, Spain the French Riviera (Cannes and Nice), Prague in the Czech Republic, Corfu and Athens Greece. Within Italy, I traveled to Vatican City, Carnivale in Venice, Florence, Caprii, Sorrento, Pompei, Assissi and sampled wine in Tuscany.