An international studies and political science double major at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock will earn six college credit hours through study in an intensive program at National Cheng Kung University in Taiwan this summer.
UALR senior Jessica Cone of Harrison was offered a spot in the Taiwan-United States Sister Relations Alliance Ambassador Summer Scholarship Program. Her scholarship includes tuition, housing, paid excursions, time with a host family, and a one-on-one language partner.
The unique eight-week program is designed for students who want to represent their state, as well as the United States, acting as ambassadors to Taiwan. Upon their return, the students are expected to be ambassadors of goodwill for both the U.S. and Taiwan.
Cone heard about the opportunity from Joshua Thomsen, an international studies administrative assistant at UALR and a TUSA alumnus himself.
She is interested in East Asian studies and expects the ambassador program to be an excellent cultural experience.
“I feel there’s only so much I can pick up from classes and books, and it’s really time to go out there and be in the middle of it,” she said. “I’m extremely honored to have been chosen for TUSA’s 2014 Ambassador class.”
The program will enable her to study Chinese, her language emphasis at UALR. The TUSA program also gives students the opportunity to tutor Taiwanese high school students in English, according to Cone. She is considering teaching English in China, Taiwan, or South Korea when she graduates.
“I’m extremely excited, but at the same time I’m really scared. I’ve never studied abroad before, and this will be the furthest I’ve ever been from home,” she said.
“If I didn’t have the support of my parents, family, friends, the political science and international studies departments, and the staff at UALR, this wouldn’t be possible,” Cone added.
As a transfer student from Oregon State’s e-campus political science program, Cone said she has been impressed with how willing faculty and staff at UALR are to help ambitious students reach their goals. She earned her associate degree from North Arkansas College in Harrison.