Diverse students study around the world under grant program

Segovia, Spain

Spain, Italy, Argentina and Mexico are where this year’s Diversity Excellence Scholars Abroad students will travel.

The program works to increase the diversity of UO participants in study abroad programs. It provides funding to underrepresented students who then serve as ambassadors.

The program, which is supported by Global Education Oregon, helps increase awareness of study abroad opportunities among historically underrepresented UO students and sends the message that studying abroad is an experience all students can and should consider. This year four students received scholarships.

Margaret Faliano Margaret Faliano is a junior majoring in business administration and international studies. She hopes to have a career in international business and marketing. Her home is in Central Point, but this summer she will be at the Global Education Oregon’s Spanish Language Culture program in Segovia, Spain.

The immersive program, where all courses are taught in Spanish, will fulfill degree requirements in multiple programs for Faliano, increase her Spanish fluency and diversify her cross-cultural perspective.

“The many experiences I will gain from this international education opportunity will change the way I see the world, help me inspire others to study abroad and make memories to look back on for years to come,” she said.

Claudia Monroy-BenitezArchitecture major Claudia Monroy-Benitez is a junior from Portland specializing in affordable and sustainable design. She’ll study architecture and design in Rome, Italy, where she hopes to expand her horizons about culture and architecture.

“If there is anything I've learned so far in my education it's that architecture is a universal language,” she said. “I have grown up in a bubble where the only stories I've heard of other countries are in my assigned readings. Being able to experience the spaces for myself will deepen my understanding of how architecture is translated in different cultures.”

Kim VaroThe Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México Exchange in Mexico City was the right choice for Eugenean Kim Varo, a junior majoring in Spanish who hopes to be a secondary education teacher. He sees the program as an opportunity to learn about teaching concepts in a different country, as well as enrich her relationship to her community.

“It will allow me to be fully immersed in the culture I grew up with only at home and church. I will be able to speak Spanish in every aspect of my daily life,” Varo said. “I believe I will come back and be able to give back to the Latino community by sharing my experience and having a little more understanding about where they come from.”

Danielle BonillaDanielle Bonilla is a sophomore from San Jose, California, who is majoring in international studies. This summer she will have an internship in Argentina in a program that focuses on nonprofits and social change, which aligns with her future goals to work in the field of humanitarian relief or international aid.

“This program will delve more into the functionality and impact such organizations have on communities, while teaching me how to critically analyze these institutions and how they play into western development,” she said. “Such an opportunity is unparalleled in gaining knowledge and experience, and I plan to take full advantage of the opportunity. Maximize experience gained, skills learned and people helped.”

For more information about the Diversity Excellence Scholars Abroad program or to find out about applying in the future, see the Division of Equity and Inclusion website.

—By tova stabin, University Communications