Two Fairfield University students win Freeman-ASIA Scholarships for study in China


Two Fairfield University students have won $5,000 Freeman Awards for Study in Asia, which will help defray the costs of a semester in China. The award is funded by the Freeman Foundation and administered by the nonprofit Institute for International Education.

"The Freeman-ASIA scholarships are designed to encourage study abroad in East Asia and to involve scholarship winners in recruiting other students," said Katherine Kidd, Ph.D. director of the International Studies program at Fairfield University.

"Fairfield Students who have studies in China over the last three years with support from Freeman-ASIA have returned to campus energized by their experiences. They have written senior research papers on China, have created individually designed majors in Asian Studies, have recruited other students to study in China and have returned to China to work," Dr. Kidd said. "Over the last three years, the number of Fairfield students studying in Asia has more than doubled, a sign that on Fairfield's campus, the Freeman-Asia program is having a positive impact."

"More than 30 percent of Fairfield University students study abroad during their undergraduate careers," said Susan M. Fitzgerald, director of Study Abroad Programs at Fairfield University. "In addition to Fairfield University's own programs in Florence; Brisbane, Australia; and Galway, Ireland, our students are able to make use of exchange programs with other schools and institutions, such as the Beijing Center, to travel to nations across the globe."

"International study has become an increasingly popular choice for our students and for students from other schools who rely on Fairfield for their study abroad experiences," Fitzgerald said.

Wakefield, Mass. resident Lauren Howard is studying at the University of International Business and Economics in Beijing this semester, through The Beijing Center, a Jesuit consortium program for study in China. The Beijing program allows students who do not speak the language to take classes in English.

Howard started her term at Fairfield University as a biology major, but switched to International Studies in her sophomore year. She also has minors in art history and Asian Studies. During her semester in China, she has taken classes in Chinese, the arts of China, traditional Chinese medicine, Chinese martial arts, and Chinese economic and business systems.

"I am truly thankful for the opportunity to study in China. It has been the pinnacle of my Fairfield career and the most challenging and exciting time of my life," Howard said. "Studying abroad in Asia is not usually the first option that comes to students' minds, but I hope that I will be able to convince others to venture east rather than west for their studies."

Howard also had the opportunity to travel outside of Beijing. Her journey took her to the Gobi Desert, Urumqi, Shanghai, Guilin, and Yangshao and the Tibetan Plateau, as well as Xi'an, the home of the life-size Terra Cotta Warriors and Horses, a famed archeological attraction at the mausoleum of Emperor Qin Shi Huang.

Image: Alejandro MartinezAlejandro Martinez, a resident of Atlanta, Ga., will also be studying at the Beijing National University of International Business through The Beijing Center. Martinez's visit to China will mark the sixth semester in a row that Fairfield University has sent students to China on the Freeman-ASIA scholarship.

Martinez has a double major in international studies and politics. He also minors in Asian studies.

During his semester in China this spring, Martinez will take classes in international business, political and economic reform in China, East Asian philosophies, and intensive Chinese to expand his understanding of the Chinese language. He hopes to be fluent in Chinese when his stay there is over.

"I think China is becoming such a big player in the international community, both economically and politically," said Martinez, who describes this opportunity as "wonderful." "I think knowing the culture will be a great asset in my career," he said. In the future Martinez hopes to attend graduate school to study conflict resolution. After college he would like to get involved in international politics.

Martinez will also have the opportunity to travel outside of Beijing. The Beijing program includes a "Minorities Trip," where students will travel all over China, staying with families in all the major minorities in the different regions of the country. He also plans to travel to a major ski resort in Manchuria during spring break.

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Media Contact: Nancy Habetz, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2647, nhabetz@fairfield.edu

Posted on December 14, 2004

Vol. 37, No. 116