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Roane State has variety of international options

A grant awarded by the Tennessee Board of Regents helped Roane State Community College students participate in study abroad programs this spring.

Access and Diversity grants are awarded by the Tennessee Board of Regents to projects promoting diversity, enhancing inclusiveness, and strengthening the presence of underrepresented groups on campuses statewide.

Roane State associate professor of business Dave Rath applied for and received an Access and Diversity grant for 2013-14. Titled “Access Global Cultures,” the grant funded study abroad scholarships up to $1,000.

Scholarship applicants were required to write an essay and to complete a minimum of 30 hours of Roane State community service after returning from their study abroad program.

Recipients were chosen based on individual need, GPA, and their essay.

The grant, for example, provided funding for music students who traveled to Malaga, Spain in March to participate in an international choral festival.

Of the 11 Concert Choir members who traveled to Spain, six applied for and received the Access Global Cultures scholarship. All six students agreed that without the scholarships, they would not have been able to participate.

While in Spain, the students interacted not only with the culture of the city and its people, but also with the multitude of cultures represented by other contestants in the festival.

Student Trisha Davis had never traveled outside the United States. After her experience in Spain, she is excited to do more traveling —her next goal: Australia.

Amanda Holly saw an opportunity to teach and learn.

“I liked bringing East Tennessee to hundreds of people who had preconceived notions about us,” she said.

For sophomore Ashley Sherrill, studying overseas is important because she enjoys finding common ground with other cultures.

“Though I’ve studied abroad before, it’s about getting to experience the different cultures that make up our world and the similarities we all share as people,” she said.

The trip to Malaga is just one of the opportunities Roane State has offered. The college’s International Education Office has partnered with academic divisions across the school to provide programs in Italy, France, Costa Rica and Belgium, just to name a few.

For more information about Roane State’s International Education program, call 882-4643.