Archive for the ‘Student Spotlight’ Category

Student Spotlight | June 2012 | Mason Collar: Business Abroad in Europe and Costa Rica

Friday, June 1st, 2012

Graduating UALR Business Marketing major, Mason Collar is glad he took the opportunity to study business abroad.  In the summer of 2010 he took his first study abroad trip to Germany, and during the past spring break he joined the UALR College of Business on a short-term travel course to Costa Rica. With his new perspectives on business, he will now begin his career search with an international mindset.


Life is all about creating stories to be able to tell others.  Studying abroad is another one of my experiences that I can share with people.  Studying abroad is an opportunity that no one should waste – if I could go back and start my college experience all over again, I would make sure that I study abroad for at least an entire year of my undergraduate studies. Studying business in different cultures is very interesting because you will find many variations in the different aspects of business.




On my first study abroad program I went to  Erfurt, Germany for three weeks where I was studying with students from 14 other countries from around the globe. Being with other international business students, it became obvious that culture effects everyday business.  During my trips abroad I had to deal with the differences in cultures face to face. On my week long study abroad trip to Costa Rica I was a part of the UALR International Business group who learned all about sustainable business practices. 




Even though both of my study abroad programs were less than a month each, I find it truly amazing how much a person can learn when they are placed in a situation where nothing is in their comfort zone, where what they know and expect is not the norm. Because of my study abroad experiences my interests and goals have developed and I am excited for what lies after graduation.  



I strongly recommend that UALR Students study abroad.  Business students who study abroad will quickly realize that business is cross-disciplinary, and there is a lot to be learned by gaining international perspectives.  For students interested in more details about my study abroad experiences, please contact me via e-mail at  



Student Spotlight | May 2012: Ross Jackson in China

Tuesday, May 1st, 2012

With the help of local sponsors, grants and scholarships, a UALR Senior Theatre Arts Major took his first trip abroad. During spring break Ross Jackson traveled to China with faculty members Dr. Jeff Kyong-McClain and Dr. Jess Porter, who led a 10-day Short-term Travel Course on Chinese history and geography.

During my last semester at UALR studying Theatre Arts, I experienced something new, something that helped to reinforce my academic goals. I have always had a passion for traveling, but this trip abroad gave “traveling” a whole new meaning. Having the opportunity to go to China changed my perspective on life, and I hardly look at anything the same. I realized how valuable it is as an artist to be able to draw on examples from other cultures and perspectives.


With a background in the arts, I approached China as a story waiting to be told. My experiences on-stage are performed stories; this trip to China has become my story of experiencing the history of Eastern Art. During my 10 days in China I had the chance to see the Beijing Opera, a few art exhibits, the 798 Art Zone and even play an ancient Chinese musical instrument. All of these experiences are unique to China, and would not have been the same if I had not traveled abroad; there is something different and special about seeing and experiencing what you hear about.


I found the language barrier to be both shocking and interesting. The language itself was fascinating and fun - I still find myself saying xie xie (thank you)! On the other hand, a couple days into the trip I realized that I was in another country, but we were communicating with the locals in our language instead of vice versa.

What surprised me most about the culture was the camaraderie among the Chinese. Very rarely did I ever see a person alone, they always travel in groups, and we frequently saw people helping each other with daily activities. This made a lasting impression on me and I will always remember China for its friendliness.


I am thankful to those who helped fund my study abroad experience; the Arkansas Repertory Theatre, the UALR Department of Theatre & Dance, the Short-term Programs Scholarship, and ITE Sponsorship. As I begin preparing for graduate school, I hope for the opportunity to return to Asia in the near future. To learn more about my study abroad experience in China, please feel free to e-mail me at


Student Spotlight | April 2012: Clint Brockway in Austria

Wednesday, March 28th, 2012

Clint Brockway is currently a first year graduate student in UALR’s Master’s of Liberal Studies Program.  Before he began his graduate school coursework, he had the unique opportunity to intern and research abroad in Austria.  He hopes that he will have another opportunity to conduct research in Austria during his graduate studies.

Last summer I was fortunate enough to travel over 15,000 miles during my 11 weeks abroad, and I landed myself in 8 different countries!  I completed a research-based internship at UALR’s Exchange Partner Karl FranzensUniversität in Graz, Austria.  As and undergraduate student of Interpretation American Sign Language and English, I began research on perceptions of ethical conduct for sign language interpreters in Austria and the U.S.

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Austria | Summer 2011

Being the first student in the ASL department to do an internship abroad, some of the pre-departure logistics were difficult; however my studies abroad have shaped and strengthened my professional and academic goals.  As an interpreter there are many things to learn about being abroad and being on the receiving side of interpretation.  I am grateful to Dr. Linda Stauffer of the Interpreter Education Program at UALR, and Nadja Grbic of the Institut fϋr Theoretische und Angewandte Translationswissenschaft, who were helpful in arranging much of the logistics, and encouraging to intern abroad.  I quickly learned that Europe has had a long history with intercultural communication and professional use of several languages; this is a great learning environment for students who are studying interpreting or a foreign language.  ASL students are taught to communicate visually and think in images, being abroad and being forced to learn new signs, giving me a new perspective on sign language.  There are several interpreting behaviors that I have adopted in my professional interpreting that I learned while being abroad.

Before leaving my home in Arkansas, I had only taken one German language course.  With the help of UALR Professor, Dr. Jeanette Clausen, I was able to learn useful vocabulary and phrases before my trip to Austria.  When I finally arrived in Austria, I found that my biggest challenge was the abundance of languages in Europe. As an interpreter and language major this was absolutely amazing, but on the other hand it made collecting valuable and reliable data for the research difficult.  In order to overcome this challenge I was forced to seek out and use the available resources.  Knowing, understanding, and using available resources became key to conducting research, and has been translated to a useful lifelong habit.  My time in Austria was accompanied by a new and good friend Karin, she helped with arranging meetings with the Interpreting Association, learning the city, and translating documents.

My time abroad was not only limited to academics and research, but I was also able to travel, explore and enjoy various European cultures.  I went to historical sites, music festivals, national parks, and several countries all over Europe.  During my stay, a flat-mate invited me to visit her family in a small Austrian town, where we climbed the second largest mountain in the Northern Limestone Alps, and explored the caves of Dachstein.  This sense of community has been a unique and exciting experience; throughout my stay I felt like an important part of a community among great friends that continues even though we are living different lives.

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Northern Limestone Alps | Summer 2011

There is still much to be learned about interpreting and the Austrian culture.  I am hoping and planning to return in the next few years.  During my next trip abroad, I will again conduct research and hopefully attend the upcoming International Interpreting Conference in Austria.  If any students are interested in learning more about interpreting research and internships opportunities in Austria, please feel free to contact me via e-mail at

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Austria | Summer 2011

Student Spotlight | March 2012: Sarah Dunlap in Jordan

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012

UALR Programs Abroad is excited to announce its first Programs Abroad Student Spotlight, Sarah Dunlap.  Sarah is a Senior History Major and Middle Eastern Studies Minor.  While she is looking forward to her upcoming graduation, before she walks across the stage to receive her diploma, she will study abroad one more time!

I come from a family of six children, and interestingly enough one of my younger sisters got me interested in learning Arabic.  Little did I know that I would soon be traveling alone, across the world to Jordan to take intensive Arabic language courses.  Last summer I had an experience that was absolutely life-changing!  It was my first time to travel alone, so I was excited yet very nervous.  At first it was easy for me to notice the difference in cultures, but as time passed I began to realize that the little things in daily life were not so different from the U.S. and frankly did not matter.  It was not long into the trip when I realized that family is very important to the Jordanians, which was something very familiar to me.

University of Jordan | Arabic classes | Summer 2011
Wadi Rumm Beddoin Camp | Summer 2011

 The eight-week intensive Arabic classes at the University of Jordan began, and this is where I really started to interact and engage the Arabic language.  Not only was I learning a language, but I was learning the culture of a unique country among many other students from around the world.  As I put my skills to the test outside of the classroom, my biggest obstacle was the language barrier.  I quickly learned that in order for to learn the most Arabic while I was abroad, I had to be willing to take the steps to go out and practice.  When I did, I found that my  Arabic improved quickly!

University of Jordan | Arabic classes | Summer 2011
University of Jordan | Arabic classes | Summer 2011

 By the end of the study abroad trip, I was really sad to go home.  I had not yet reached a point of “home-sickness” and was not looking forward to leaving my new friends behind.  It was much harder coming back to the U.S. and coming back to the American culture, than going to Jordan and adopting their culture.

Although I had previously had an interest in the Middle East, this trip abroad confirmed my plans for a long-term career goal focused on the Middle East.  As graduation approaches I am in the process of applying for several Middle Eastern Studies Graduate school programs.

I am currently looking forward to returning to Jordan this summer for more intensive Arabic courses.  This time I am not nervous but happy, and glad that my husband will be joining for a visit during my studies.

As a two-time recipient of the UALR Middle Eastern Studies Grant, I strongly encourage Middle Eastern Studies students to apply and take advantage of the opportunity to study a new culture.  If you are interested in learning more about my trip abroad, or the UALR Middle Eastern Studies please e-mail me at

Jordan | Summer 2011
Jordan | Summer 2011