By Frederico Ghelli
Some college students, especially from other nations, sometimes feel the need to leave their countries and engage in an experience abroad to enrich their knowledge, for an entire year or just for a semester.
And some of them come to Lincoln University.
Lincoln collaborates with two programs which will eventually expand to three in 2013. This collaboration allows Lincoln to have students from other countries, giving to the institution a good publicity. Currently the university hosts four exchange students from all over the world and all of them seem very happy about their experiences. They also believe that Lincoln is giving them the chance to learn more about other cultures.
“These four months made me learn a lot about the African-American culture and how media work in the United States,” Frinnet Montoya, junior from Nicaragua and Mass Communication major, said.
These students have the possibility to attend Lincoln thanks to the cooperation the institution has with United States International University and World Learning, two exchange programs.
USIU, located in Kenya, is the oldest private secular university in Eastern Africa and currently has a student population of over 5,000 from over 53 countries. This numbers makes it one of the most diverse universities in Africa, according to the university website.
“We have a formal agreement with USIU. They send students here and also we send students over there,” Terri Joseph, program assistant for the office of international programs and services, said.
The relationship between Lincoln and USIU is based on a direct exchange. Students pay tuition and fees to the school in which they are enrolled.
“Currently we have just one student with the USIU program and she loves Lincoln,” Joseph continued.
Daisy Muibu is the student enrolled in the USIU program. She is a junior with a major in International Relations and she is attending Lincoln just for the fall semester.
“I decided to do an experience abroad because my major and to see something different from my country. I feel that now I can see the world from a different perspective,” Muibu said.
Most of the exchange students believe that studying at Lincoln helped them to see how other people work and to discover the American culture.
The majority of them think that attending a HBCU is the best way to learn the habits of African-Americans.
“Lincoln is amazing. It is been a blessing to come and knowing that important leaders, like Kwame Nkrumah (first president of Ghana), graduated here, make me proud,” Muibu stated.
The other program which collaborates with Lincoln is World Learning, which is directly connected to the Department of State.
World Learning is a nonprofit organization which offers high school and undergraduate students the chance to have experiences in more than 50 countries. Its mission is to empower people and strengthen institutions through education, exchange, and development programs, according to the official website.
“The agreement with World Learning states that they pay for tuition and fees and we provide scholarship for room and board,” Joseph said.
For the fall semester three students came to Lincoln with the World Learning program. One of them is Matija Djumic, from Serbia. He is a junior majoring in Business and he will attend Lincoln for the whole academic year.
Djumic came with the idea of studying abroad accidentally. One of his friends proposed him to make an experience in the United States and he accepted.
“I saw my friend one day in the hallway and he told me to go with him to the United States. It was four days before the deadline so I applied without even thinking if I really wanted to go,” he said.
To be part of the program a GPA of at least 3.0 is required. During the selection process it is necessary to have experience in volunteering or community service, demonstrate proficiency in English and submit an essay.
After Djumic was accepted into the program he received a round-trip flight ticket, $14,574 to cover the tuition and fees, and a monthly stipend for his personal needs.
“I need to thank World Learning for the possibility they gave me. I always keep in touch with them and they are concerned about my progresses,” Djumic said.
A study abroad experience can surely help comprehend the world better especially nowadays, considering that we are living in a global community.
Most of the students find an experience abroad as a benefit for their studies, especially because they have the possibility to know new systems of education.
“The level of education is greater than Serbia, so I did learn a lot of more than I did back home. Nine times out of 10 I would come to Lincoln again, even though there is something in the Business Department that could be improved,” Djumic stated.
Montoya too, the other student in the World Learning program, rates her experience as very engaging and constructive. She made good friends and she seemed happy about her time spent at Lincoln.
“The experience here was really worth. Especially from the professional perspective I think I did a good job. These four months helped me to improve my English too,” Montoya said.
However, the acclimatization was not that easy for her.
“I am a really shy person and especially the first month I felt uncomfortable. It seemed like everybody was staring at me,” she said. “But after a while I realized that it was happening just because I represented something new for the people here,” Montoya concluded.
Lincoln is also trying to broaden its exchange program. For the fall 2013 should be formalized an agreement with a program in Brazil that would allow South-American students to come study in the United States.
“We always receiving good feedbacks from exchange students; this is why we are trying to bring more people here. With this new cooperation we are looking forward to have more than 10 exchange students next year,” Joseph concluded.