2011 GoAbroad Innovation Awards Finalists: Innovative New Program

GoAbroad Innovative New ProgramWe’re pleased to announce the 2011 GoAbroad Innovation Awards finalists in the category of Innovative New Program. We received many wonderful nominations and the selection committee has chosen five finalists, listed here in alphabetical order.


CEA Global Education / University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) Culture & Identity Studies

CEA Global Education and University of Maryland, Baltimore County’s “Culture & Identity Studies: Explore Gay Paris” program offers a Gender Studies course that explores the formations and constructions of gay and lesbian identities as they’ve been framed in Paris, particularly since the end of the 19th century. Students study how the categories of race, socioeconomic status, religion, gender, class, ethnicity and immigration crosscut sexual identity and sexual citizenship. Throughout the semester, they participate in the building of the intellectual superstructure of the course by creating and utilizing two physical maps: gay Paris and lesbian Paris. These maps pinpoint and reflect gay and lesbian urban spaces, community centers and locales in the contemporary city space, both geographically and temporally. Students live in the Marais district and are immersed not only in French culture, but in Gay French culture. They also have the opportunity to participate in the March des Fiertes LGBT, or LGBT Pride March.


Institute for Education in International Media (ieiMedia) / San Francisco State University (SFSU) Perpignan Project

The Institute for Education in International Media (ieiMedia) Perpignan Project offers students the opportunity to act as foreign correspondents for a month. The participants aren’t tourists or even simply students, they’re living and working as journalists in the community, getting to know the local people, customs and traditions. Students study international reporting and multimedia journalism skills, as well as French language and culture, in Perpignan, France and then report on the host community using the skills they’ve learned. Last summer students, working with local interpreters, filmed a pastry chef creating a traditional wedding cake, interviewed a European Parliament minister, spent a day with a snail farmer, observed as a crew worked to transform a crumbling 18th century fort into a modern arts center and shared their stories. The students created a multimedia website about the community. The Perpignan Project is co-sponsored by the San Francisco State University Journalism Department and the Institute for Education in International Media (ieiMedia). Most students come from the U.S. and Canada but the program is open to English-speaking journalism and communications students from around the world.


Rice University and University of Tulsa’s NanoJapan: International Research Experience for Undergraduates

As international partnerships are become increasingly indispensable to solving major science and engineering problems, U.S. researchers and educators must be able to operate effectively in teams comprised of partners from different nations and cultural backgrounds. Rice University and University of Tulsa’s NanoJapan Program was developed to address this need by attracting undergraduates to research and study in the field of nanoscale science and technology. This summer research internship program provides freshman and sophomore engineering students from universities nationwide the opportunity to conduct nanoscale research with leading laboratories throughout Japan. In addition to the research internships, students also complete a three-week Japanese intensive Japanese language and culture program in Tokyo and, upon completion of the program, present on their research project at the Rice Quantum Institute’s Summer Research Colloquium. By involving and training students in cutting-edge research projects in nanoscale science and engineering, this program aims to increase the numbers of US students who choose to pursue graduate study in this field while also cultivating a generation of globally aware engineers and scientists who are prepared for international research collaboration. The program is supported by a National Science Foundation Partnership for International Research and Education grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF-PIRE).


University of Alabama’s AL in Bangladesh Grameen Bank Basic Training

The University of Alabama’s AL in Bangladesh – Grameen Bank Basic Training is one of the most unique study abroad programs the univeristy has to offer. The program is designed to teach students and professionals alike the fundamental philosophies and skills needed to replicate the Grameen Bank model in other parts of the world. The Grameen Bank offers small loans to those pursuing an income generating endeavor to help raise the borrower and her family out of poverty. Through this program, students study micro-credit first hand in rural Bangladeshi villages to learn about micro-credit’s strengths and weaknesses. Rashmee Sharif serves as director of the program and her personal networks in Bangladesh enhances the student experience. Students have described the program as a “transformative” experience in which so much is gained through both the madness and beauty of Bangladesh.


University of Central Florida (UCF) Sophomore Experience Abroad (S.E.A.)

The University of Central Florida’s Sophomore Experience Abroad (S.E.A.) program is designed with the needs of sophomore students in mind as they enter a year of transition, decision making and self-doubt. Assignments and program objectives are focused improving retention, major and career awareness and campus leadership. The program innovates in that it is led, not by a faculty member teaching a specific discipline, but by a professional advisor trained to holistically work with students on their academic and life goals. S.E.A. is designed to use the student’s first international experience as a powerful tool in academic advising and life coaching. By eliminating the bindings of a classroom setting, the S.E.A. program requires participants to engage in and with the host culture as they explore themselves and the world around them.


Congratulations to the finalists! The winner of this category will be announced at the GoAbroad invitation-only reception during the upcoming NAFSA: Association of International Educators Annual Conference and will be posted to the GoAbroad blog. Other category finalists are being announced this week. Next week, we will announce the finalists in the Student Abroad Video contest and voting for best video will commence shortly after all the finalists have been announced.

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