Five York students are looking forward to spending three weeks stateside after securing a bursary to take part in the University’s inaugural International Study Centre (ISC) this summer.
The five students – Rose Woodall-Simmons, Wesley Parkinson, Janice Moore, Tom Mumford and Lineo Tsikoane – were each awarded a £2,000 bursary to cover the full cost of the trip, and are part of a group of 31 York students taking part in the first ISC from 20 June to 7th July.
The International Study Centre is designed to offer a short-term alternative to those wishing to study abroad but unable to commit to a longer stay, allowing more students to gain valuable international experience and improve their employability.
It will include a three-day cultural experience in New York followed by an intensive cross discipline academic programme in Leadership and Social Change based at Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts, one of America’s top liberal arts institutions.
Students will chose to study one of four themes – food security and hunger, community organising, youth development, and arts and activism – and will work with local community-based organisations to apply the theory they learn to real world situations.
Wesley Parkinson, 19, is a first year Environmental Science undergraduate student, who, as a former member of the UK Youth Parliament, is very interested in social action and youth engagement. He says, “I wanted to study abroad but couldn’t commit to a year-long exchange. I’m particularly looking forward to the field trips to see social action projects as it will be very interesting to see the similarities and differences in approach between the UK and US.”
Tom Mumford, 22, a first year Politics student, combines his studies at York with his role as a town councilor in Horncastle, Lincolnshire, and could not go abroad for more than a few weeks because of his council commitments. He is particularly interested in ways of engaging young people more in the community.
Not all students are able to commit to a year abroad, so the International Study Centre opens up the possibility of an international experience to a broader range of people
Lineo Tsikoane, 27, from Lesotho, is a human rights lawyer studying for a Masters degree in Human Rights Law and Practice at York. She says, “I am very interested in social entrepreneurship and community advocacy and hope to learn more about how these can be developed in more practical and tangible ways.”
The new ISC initiative is in addition to a number of long-standing links with the USA and Canada which already provide an opportunity to spend a year at a partner institution.
University of York International Relations Officer Jennifer Oxley says, “The International Study Centres are one of the exciting initiatives being developed by the University's new Centre for Global Programmes. Not all students are able to commit to a year abroad, so the International Study Centre opens up the possibility of an international experience to a broader range of people. We hope it will provide students with a stimulating and thought-provoking experience which they can use to enhance their CVs and help them secure employment.
“For next year, we are looking to introduce more International Study Centres, perhaps in China and South Africa, giving even more students an opportunity to study abroad.”
The 31 students going to the States this month include UK, EU, international and distance learning students. Bursaries were funded by the University of York and Santander.