The Marrakech Express
Salaam wa Lakum! I’m Kristen Young, a graduating student from the College of Charleston Master of Public Administration (MPA) program, as well as the co-founder of a non-profit in Morocco. I am happy to share with you some information about travel, research, and working in Africa. Having spent the summer working there, I’ve got some advice for those of you who want to pursue study abroad research and work possibilities.
My summer trip and research all sprang from the idea to start a non-profit in Ouoauizerth (wah-wee-zart), a very rural community in the Atlas Mountains of Morocco. Why Morocco? As an undergraduate in 2009, I focused in African Studies. I went to Africa twice in 2009: once, to South Africa, and then on a short volunteer trip to North Africa to work with Peace Corps Volunteers and the ACLS (Association de Lutte Contre le SIDA, an organization dedicated to HIV/AIDS awareness). Fast forward to August 2012; with a half-year of MPA training underway, a friend and I filed for incorporation of our own legal 501 (c) 3 non-profit. We came up with the plan after witnessing a successful Peace Corps project for peer education, and decided to mimic the pilot in another area. We had recognized that the Ouaouizerth community was in need of basic services such as health education, job training, and women’s empowerment. Ultimately, the mission of the organization is simple:
To improve the lives of Moroccan youth and the development of the Ouaouizerth community by facilitating peer-to-peer educational pathways in basic health, job training, and women’s empowerment.
CCDM has now grown to a 7-member board comprising both Moroccans and Americans. We approach learning as a partnership and recognize the importance of fostering global alliances. We have hosted three American graduate students as interns in development, and recently acquired a grant from the Kingdom of Morocco (in partnership with another local organization called Amzawro Association for Development) for seven teachers’ salaries. We also recently purchased ten computers, hundreds of books, and a projector for our classrooms. And through the computer learning, job training, and women’s literacy classes offered we have been able to reach over 200 local residents to date. For my graduate research, I appropriately decided to focus on strategic recommendations for Moroccan non-profits to identify the best methods for implementing projects with CCDM. I spent the summer doing research there courtesy of grants from the College and other sources, and subsequently won the Robert L. Kline award for most outstanding student paper in the Southeast region for Public Administration.
You can do stuff like this, too!
There is no limit to the things you can accomplish through the College of Charleston. If you have a great idea for research or travel, or if you just know you want to have a meaningful experience, the College has a range of research opportunities available through the International Studies department and the African Studies department, as well as travel and volunteer opportunities through the Center for International Education. I started out by creating a poster outlining my research goals for the competitive College of Charleston Graduate Student Poster Session, which awards small grants for students to pursue their research. I didn’t win, but it was great practice—in talking about my organization and ideas for research, getting ideas from other people, and shaping the future of my study. More importantly, it was an introduction to all the hard work I would be doing to make my dream a reality. I cannot stress enough the importance of hard work and dedication to a venture like this. Going the “extra mile” by being involved in things like conferences and poster sessions could make or break an application for funding, or to graduate school, or for an international experience. Be involved, knowledgeable, and strong. Know yourself and your goals, because you will be advertising both!
The College of Charleston has a wealth of resources for students who want to do research, volunteer, or work internationally. Ask for help from everywhere, and listen to people when they give you advice! Go to your faculty adviser, or seek help from other people who have traveled abroad. Make new friends. Seek out all opportunities and then apply for them. Don’t get discouraged when you don’t get funding, or get less than you wanted. Odds are, if you work really hard and believe in yourself and your goals, other people will too! For more information about how you can get involved in learning adventures like this, contact the International Studies (http://internationalstudies.cofc.edu) or African Studies (www.cofc.edu/~africanstudies) departments. For information on international funding, contact your program office, or the Center for International Education (https://international.cofc.edu); for larger long-term study grants, check out the Office of Nationally Competitive Awards (http://nationalawards.cofc.edu). The possibilities are limitless! You can learn more about my organization CCDM at: www.ccdmorocco.com or contact me at email@example.com. Shukran bisef (thank you)!
Information Session on Critical Language Scholarships
Friday, October 4
Honors Center classroom (second floor conference room of 10 Green Way)
The Critical Language Scholarship Program is an intensive overseas language program for seven to ten weeks each summer. The program sponsors study in critical needs languages, which include Arabic, Hindi, Urdu, Russian, Chinese, Turkish, Punjabi, and many more. Many programs require no previous language experience in the target language. Participants live and study at over twenty sites abroad, covering the equivalent of a full year of college-level language study in thirteen critical languages. All CLS Program costs are covered for participants, including: round-trip domestic and international travel; mandatory pre-departure orientation in Washington, DC; applicable visa fees; room and board; seven to ten weeks of group-based intensive language instruction; course materials; all costs associated with the CLS cultural program; and a small living stipend. Information about the application process is available at: http://clscholarship.org/. Application deadline is November 20th. Contact Dr. Vander Zee in the Office for Nationally Competitive Awards (firstname.lastname@example.org) for help with your application.
Dr. Anton Vander Zee
Honors College Faculty Fellow
Asst. Professor of English
Director of Nationally Competitive Awards
College of Charleston
22B Glebe St. Room 202
“I am absolutely thrilled to accompany two of my professors on this project in which I will gain hands on experience that will directly relate to my career aspirations,” says Baxley, a classics and archaeology major from Beech Island, S.C. “Being the only student is a bit nerve-racking (and exciting!), but I am ready for the challenge and look forward to all I will learn.”
The project will document via Reflexive Transference Imagery (RTI), 3D imagery, X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF), and traditional illustration the administrative archives of the Palace of Nestor at Pylos, Greece. The publication and corresponding spatial database would effectively compile the scholarship of several generations of Linear B scholars into a concise, organized system, useable by scholars, students, and interested lay communities; and expand use of this dataset to broader cross-cultural comparative applications.
The online database, in development at the College of Charleston, will be searchable by tablet, fragment, word, or geochemical signature. The documentation via multiple imaging formats will also provide an archiving component to a valuable dataset that is of a fragile nature. The final images and data will reside at the College of Charleston on a dedicated server.
“This project is an excellent example of the ways in which the expertise and research of the faculty are leveraged for high impact experiences for students, while at the same time moving the discipline of archaeology forward in exciting ways,” explains Jim Newhard, Classics professor and incoming director of the archaeology program. “I am looking forward to seeing this collaboration develop for the benefit of all the cooperating institutions, researchers, and students.”
The project currently has funding from the Loeb Classical Library Foundation, the Institute for Aegean Prehistory, the Michael Ventris Foundation, and the College of Charleston.
For more information, contact Jim Newhard at email@example.com.
College of Charleston Honors College student Christopher Jackson will spend his summer studying at the University of Dundee and the University of Strathclyde in Scotland on one of the most prestigious and selective summer scholarship programs operating worldwide. Jackson is one of 50 students from the U.S. and UK chosen to participate in the five-week Fulbright Summer Institute. This year is the first year a program in Scotland has been offered and the program is themed around identity formation via politics, technology, and the media.
“To be given such a rare and valuable opportunity reinforced my desire to give back,” says Jackson, a double major in political science and international studies. “As excited as I am to grow my intellectual and personal development, I look forward to sharing my experience with friends and family upon return to the U.S. It will be very rewarding to see how my experience in Scotland will connect to my work and studies back home.”
Jackson is minoring in Japanese studies and Latin American and Caribbean studies, while also a member of the International Scholars Program and William Aiken Fellows Society. He teaches Spanish and will tutor fellow students through the College’s REACH program. While at home in Huntersville, N.C., he still avidly teaches swim lessons at his life long swim club.
Created by treaty in 1948, the U.S.-UK Fulbright Commission is the only bi-lateral, transatlantic scholarship program, offering awards and summer programs for study or research in any field, at any accredited US or UK University. The Commission is part of the Fulbright program conceived by Senator J. William Fulbright in the aftermath of World War II to promote leadership, learning and empathy between nations through educational exchange. Award recipients and summer program participants will be the future leaders for tomorrow and support the “special relationship” between the US and UK. Fulbright Summer Programs cover all participant costs.
The Commission selects participants through a rigorous application and interview process. In making these awards the Commission looks not only for academic excellence but a focused application, a range of extracurricular and community activities, demonstrated ambassadorial skills, a desire to further the Fulbright Program, and a plan to give back to the recipient’s home country upon returning.
College of Charleston students interested in Fulbright Scholarships or other nationally competitive opportunities, please contact Anton Vander Zee, director of the Office of Nationally Competitive Awards at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Help us celebrate by:
- attending the many events planned during this week
- sharing your own experiences from studying abroad or as an international student studying here
- submitting photographs of your international experiences to us for the next newsletter
- checking out International Education Week news from the U.S. Departments of State & Education
- watching this awesome video: