Four West Virginia Wesleyan students will be fulfilling their dreams of studying abroad, thanks to a generous gift from Wesleyan friend and alumna Dr. E. Maxine Moose Bruhns '45 Hon. '07. The E. Maxine Moose Bruhns Summer Study Abroad Scholarship will provide funding for four students to participate in international educational programs next summer.
The highly-competitive scholarship winners are Alberta "Ali" Crawford, sophomore international business major from Wellsburg; Rachel Rodgers, junior English writing major from Fayetteville; Sydney Pettit, junior international studies major from Glenville,; and Colin Winkie, junior biochemistry major from Bridgeport.
Crawford will be traveling to Krakow, Poland to study at the Jagiellonian University. While in Poland, she plans to learn about Poland's business culture and what it would be like to study business in an international atmosphere. During her six-week excursion, Crawford wants to learn the Polish language and visit the Auschwitz concentration camp museum, the Pieskowa Castle, the Pieniny Mountains, and the resort city of Zakopane.
"Never have I been so honored and so blessed to have been given an opportunity such as this one, especially when it pertains to what I want to do after graduation," stated Crawford.
Rodgers will be spending six weeks in Prague, Czech Republic as part of the scholarship. Excursions to Karletejen Castle, the Pilsner Urquell Brewery, Melnik Castle and winery, Lednice Village, Vatice Castle and Mikulov City are all provided as part of her program, however Rodgers hopes to gain something a little more personal from her experience.
"I hope I will gain a new perspective on how to look at the world and find a new source of theme and inspiration within my writing," she said. "To be provided with the opportunity to study somewhere new, to acquire new knowledge, allows me to write about what once was unattainable, and there are no words to express my gratitude for that gift."
Pettit will be spending approximately five weeks at the Stellenbosch University in Stellenbosch, South Africa. While there, she will be studying South African business culture and the emerging markets in the region, as well as gaining knowledge of the fast-growing South African economy.
"I could not be more excited and more grateful for this opportunity," commented Pettit. "With the business world becoming more and more globalized with each passing day, it is crucial for business students to have a knowledge of how business is done on a global scale, as well as have the ability to adapt and appreciate other countries' business cultures. This experience is one that truly goes beyond the classroom. It is something that I will be able to reflect on when I start my career and something that I will carry with me for the rest of my life."
Finally, Winkie will be studying in Norway, Russia, Sweden, Finland and Poland during his five-week trip. He plans to learn about how different cultures use medicine and how differently they utilize healthcare policies and accepted medical treatments.
"Knowing such facts could be very useful for my future in medicine, especially since I hope to use my medical skills in programs such as Doctors Without Borders one day," stated Winkie.
The program Winkie is participating in is called Semester at Sea. During his trip, he will be sailing to the different countries. The onshore experiences the program offers include service projects, cultural immersion experiences and thrill-seeking adventures.
"The phrase 'this is a once in a lifetime experience' is cliche, but how else do you explain such an experience?" asked Winkie. "I cannot wait to step out and explore, first-hand, lands I have only read about."
Born in Grafton, Bruhns has devoted much of her life to the study and appreciation of and participation in other cultures. She has traveled the world, a champion of internationalism and global living.
Her work has spanned the globe, from resettling refuges in isolated areas of different countries, helping others and fostering understanding and communication across cultures.
Her travel and experiences have helped her to develop deep understanding and scholarly presentations about the different cultures of the world, which she delivers to students and scholars at The University of Pittsburgh's Nationality Rooms in the Cathedral of Learning.
The exhibits she has built there honor the ethnic heritages of many cultures, nations and peoples. Now, she is giving Wesleyan students the opportunity to become global scholars, allowing them to learn and experience more of the world beyond our borders.