As a member of the Spanish Worship Team at Faith Builders Church in Little Rock, Taemora Williams makes songs understandable in two languages at the bilingual church.
While she takes pride in helping more people worship, Williams, a Donaghey Scholar and business management major at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, feels that she is missing out by not having a better understanding of conversational Spanish.
“I lead people in worship, and then I get off the stage, and I can’t converse with people,” she said. “I am missing out on beautiful relationships.”
Williams plans to improve her language skills and gain professional experience by interning at a nonprofit organization promoting children’s film in Valencia, Spain, this summer.
To help pay for the trip, Williams received a scholarship from the Fund for Education Abroad. The fund contains 100 scholarships totaling $335,000, which are awarded to U.S. students who are consistently underrepresented in study abroad programs. The students come from a variety of racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic backgrounds. The 2018 Fund for Education Abroad winners were selected from a pool of over 2,300 applicants from 517 colleges and universities across the country.
Williams received $3,750 from the Steckley-Weitzel Family Scholarship. She is the first student from the state of Arkansas to be selected for a scholarship from the Fund for Education Abroad.
“I will have a new experience, a new way of thinking, a new world view, and a new language that I will eventually pass on to my children,” Williams said. “I am blessed to have this opportunity from the Steckley-Weitzel Family. I am glad they know the value of giving to help someone else’s life and the impact that gift has on future generations. The Office of Study Abroad staff, including Director Emily Bell and Michelle Foley, senior program coordinator from FEA, was truly gracious and they worked with me to apply for this scholarship.”
Williams will leave for Spain on May 12 and return to Arkansas on Aug. 4. She will spend the first two weeks taking language classes at AIP Language Institute and spend the rest of the time as an event management intern at Festival Internacional de Cine Infantil Valenciano (International Children’s Film Festival of Valencia). The organization is a nonprofit cultural association, which promotes the children’s cinema made in Valencia.
“A lot of people are doing internships instead of traditional study abroad programs,” Williams said. “I want to get the most of my experience abroad, and I have always focused on academics, so I wanted to do something where I can cultivate and grow personally and professionally in a different way. This will really force me to grasp the culture instead of staying in a university setting most of the time. I am so excited for this experience.”
Williams, who is minoring in nonprofit leadership studies and public relations, will graduate from UA Little Rock in 2019 and plans to become an external fundraiser in the nonprofit sector.
Williams will post journal entries of her study abroad experience that can beread online.
For more information about study or interning abroad opportunities, contact the Office of Study Abroad at 501-569-3376 or firstname.lastname@example.org.