Ceremony preps for study abroad trips

Nicholas Birdsong

The world is a big place. Washburn students are getting ready to learn that first hand.

More than 120 Washburn students are set to embark on trips to locations across the globe. Host universities will be in nations all over Europe, Central America, South America, Africa and Asia.  

“You will have a lifetime of memories from the experiences that you had while you were abroad,” said Washburn University President Jerry Farley. “It is a unique opportunity and a time for you to really do something different, maybe a little out of your comfort zone and do something that is going to impact you forever. Once you have experienced the international flavor of the world, it will change you.”

An awards ceremony April 15 honored university students and faculty participating in Washburn’s study abroad program. Students preparing to leave this summer and fall were recognized and given a taste of what to expect.

While on their trips, students will be engaging in intensive studies in a variety of disciplines including business, foreign language, law, medicine, the arts, cultural studies and others. The programs will also vary in length, from eight days to a full academic year.

“These programs will take our students to all different corners of the world,” said Tina Williams, Washburn study abroad coordinator. “Each of the locations offers a unique opportunity for our students.”

Washburn University has a proportionally large international study abroad program compared to neighboring schools. At an overall enrollment of 7, 230, according to the Washburn official website, it has a program that rivals schools that have enrollment near 30,000.

“What really sets this International program apart is the leadership, in my opinion,” said Bassima Schbley, assistant professor of the social work department. “President Farley is extremely involved with the international happenings… On top of that we have wonderful international faculty here at Washburn. A lot of people don’t know that we have faculty from China, Japan, Lebanon, Kenya – all over.”

Faculty members have played an instrumental role in encouraging the growth of the program, as has the readily available scholarships and funding for the program, according to Schbley.

Immediately following the student awards ceremony was another event honoring faculty members who have made a difference internationally. Phi Beta Delta, a national honor society for international scholars, held a new member induction ceremony in the International House. The faculty members were recognized for their scholarly work, as well as real world contributions to the international community.

The new inductees were faculty members Lori Walton, Sheldong Pen, Liviu Florea, Thomas Romig, Sangyoub Park, Azyz Sharafy, and Sophie Delahaye.