UGA Public Service and Outreach offers Community Engagement Fellowships for study abroad

Athens, Ga. – The Office of the Vice President for Public Service and Outreach at the University of Georgia is offering Community Engagement Fellowships (CEF) for study abroad to students participating in UGA-sponsored programs in Tanzania, Ghana, South Africa, Costa Rica, Brazil, Ecuador, Peru, Mexico, India or Ukraine.

The purpose of the CEF program is to encourage UGA students to reach beyond the classroom and to share their international experiences to improve communities in Georgia. The fellowship awards will range from $500 to $750 and will be applied to costs associated with a study abroad program. The deadline to apply for the fellowships is Friday, April 1.

“By studying in nontraditional locations, we believe that students can develop the global competencies necessary to affect social, economic and environmental challenges we face at home in Georgia,” said Glenn Ames, director of the Office of International Public Service and Outreach (IPSO).

As part of the fellowship award, students will collaborate with a community partner in Georgia upon their return from a summer study abroad experience to design a project that connects the students’ academic and international experiences to a community need or issue. Community partners might include nonprofit organizations, K-12 schools, social service agencies, businesses or government agencies. Projects may be either service-learning, volunteerism or community service in nature.

Students will identify a UGA faculty or staff advisor who will assist in providing guidance in developing and carrying out projects. Proposed projects should clearly outline how the student will build a relationship and collaborate with their community partner to design and implement their projects. Projects that have the potential for the development of meaningful relationships with the community partner are encouraged.

“The ultimate goal of the Community Engagement Fellowships is to connect the students’ academic and international experiences with local community needs,” said Art Dunning, UGA vice president for public service and outreach. “Meaningful international experiences are an invaluable part of a student’s academic career. If we can facilitate students applying their academic knowledge and international experience to improve conditions right here in Georgia, then we have succeeded.”

IPSO will coordinate the 2005 CEF program. In 2003, IPSO awarded five CEF grants to UGA students studying abroad in Tanzania, Ghana and Mexico. Jesse Gingras, Sarah McDaniel and Michael Fischer applied their experiences in Tanzania to introduce African language and culture to elementary school children in Decatur.

“We introduced Tanzania and the Swahili language intending to dispel some of the myths the kids might have had about Africa while introducing alternative ways to think about Africa in general,” said Jesse Gingras, now a UGA alumnus.

The three students also established a global service-learning organization for UGA students called One Kid at a Time (OKAT). “The CEF program helped inspire us to use our experiences in Tanzania to make a difference in the lives of kids in Tanzania and Georgia,” according to Gingras.

For more information and to download an application form, visit www.uga.edu/internationalpso/studyabroad.html.