Miami holds first annual Study Abroad Is for Me Showcase

a student presents and stands in the front of the room, talking with his hands

By Rachel Berry

Miami University held its first ever Study Abroad Is for Me Showcase on Friday, Nov. 14. The showcase included student stories about studying abroad and being an international student at Miami, the announcement of awards for the International Education Week photo and writing contests, and raffles for attendees.

a woman stands in the front of the room wearing a crown and a sash that says miss ohioThe event was hosted by Caroline Grace Williams, the current Miss Ohio and an admissions counselor at Miami. Williams graduated from Miami in 2017 and studied abroad on the London Theatre program during her time at the university.

The taiko student group performed a Japanese drum ensemble to open the showcase, followed by the first student story.

Junior Rob Horton described his time in Luxembourg studying at the Miami University John E. Dolibois European Center (MUDEC). He told about the numerous countries he visited on the weekends and the ability he had to see famous landmarks and historical items that connected to what he was learning in class.

Next, winners of the photo contest were announced. Submissions were open to students who studied abroad any time from fall 2018 to now. The contest was divided into categories of cross-cultural moments, global classroom, love and honor, people and portraits, and videos.

Winners of the writing contest read their pieces. Talia Mesnick described her time as a history student studying in France.

“How can I unpack history when history hates me?” she asked, grappling with her Jewish identity.

She came to the conclusion that she too can study history and can learn from the past.

Second place winner Annika Fowler spoke about her time in Argentina. Despite the language barrier, she was able to bond with her host family over a song, Taki Taki.

The ACE winner, Cheng Chen, wrote about his experience trying to open the mailbox in his dorm, grappling with the lock and asking for help from multiple people along the way.

Senior Pierce Kaufman spoke about his time studying abroad at Hong Kong University. He spent a semester there during all of the protests and spoke about how he saw what was happening firsthand before news even reached the United States.

Last, international student Regis Rugerinyange spoke about his time at Miami so far.

He said he was nervous to leave his home country of Rwanda and begin college at Miami but has found friends and a community here.

“Everywhere we are, we are learning,” Rugerinyange said. “Miami makes you a home.”

a girl stands and holds a sheet which says she won a $1000 study abroad scholarshipThroughout the event, the Global Initiatives office raffled off a bag of gifts, a passport grant, and a $1,000 study abroad scholarship to be used on a summer 2020 faculty-led program.

The glee club ended the event with a setlist of songs from other countries.

Ryan Dye, director of education abroad, said he hopes this is the first of many events like this.

“We hope that this year’s showcase is the beginning of a new Miami tradition that will celebrate our students who have studied abroad and highlight the exciting opportunities for everyone to study abroad,” Dye said.

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