University of Maine undergraduate student Santiago Tijerina from Bangor, Maine is the recipient of a Killam scholarship to study international economics in Canada this fall.
The Killam scholarship program offers undergraduates in Canada and the United States the opportunity to spend a semester or full academic year in the other country as exchange students. Recipients like Tijerina receive $ 5,000 per semester, a stipend to offset health insurance costs and a grant of up to $ 800 for a field trip, according to the program’s website. The Killam Scholarship operates under Fulbright Canada and provides students with academic and cultural connections with the Canadian Fulbright community.
Tijerina, an international affairs student at the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and Honors College, says he plans to attend the University of Alberta in Edmonton from August to December and take four international economics courses, all taught in French. Taking French lessons will help Tijerina, a first-generation Colombian American, improve his fluency in the language and his ability to apply it to professional and entrepreneurial conversations, he says. It will also help him become trilingual, which will allow him to speak French, Spanish and English fluently.
“In addition, I view this study abroad experience as an opportunity to forge new networking relationships, lasting friendships and memories,” Tijerina said. “I consider that having a language training is an essential asset to pursue a career in international trade. ”
Tijerina’s candidacy was supported by the UMaine Major Scholarship Office. He says he also received advice from Betsy Arntzen, outreach coordinator for the Canada-US Center; Nives Dal Bo-Wheeler, Director of the Major Scholarships Office; John Mascetta, director of the Center for Academic Services and Counseling, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences; French associate professors Frederic Rondeau and Kathryn Slott; Jane Smith, Associate Professor Emeritus of French, Melissa Ladenheim, Associate Dean of Honors College, and Robert Klose, Professor of Biological Sciences at Honors College and the University of Maine at Augusta-Bangor.
“It is an honor to be recognized as a Killam Fellow,” Tijerina said. “Receiving this scholarship is an academic achievement that I will always cherish. “
We told him more about his goals and experiences at UMaine:
What made you decide to study abroad?
I have always surrounded myself with the international community from a young age, and I grew up bicultural in the sense that at home I spoke Spanish with my Colombian parents and outside I spoke English. I believe that learning and experiencing different cultures, languages, traditions, foods, perspectives and ideologies of the world can not only bring me fulfillment, but can help me become a more informed and altruistic citizen of the world. I am a very motivated student, able to adapt to new cultural contexts. I have traveled extensively across the continents of North America, South America and Europe. As an English teacher for children ages 4 to 12 at Kids & Us in Barcelona, Spain, I learned how to organize field trips and lesson plans within a team of other English teachers. I have had the chance to study abroad twice in my academic career. I followed an Intensive French program at Barna House L’Escola d’Idioms in Barcelona during the summer of 2016 and another Intensive French program at a MWS camp at McGill University (Maxine W. Sommerville) during the summer 2017. Collectively, my experiences abroad enhanced my knowledge of world cultures, inspired me to take on the role of global citizen within my own community at the University of Maine and motivated me to to study abroad.
Apart from academics, what do you expect from this experience?
I plan to live at the International House of the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada from August to December 2021. I am looking for an opportunity to have a life experience that would expose me to different cultures of the world and improve my worldview, and an experience that would help me grow as an individual and as a citizen of the world. I see life at Maison Internationale as an opportunity to promote diversity and develop my communication, leadership and teamwork skills. I intend to share food, cultural experiences and stories about my Colombian heritage as different ways to contribute to the International House community. Most importantly, I will value and respect the different cultures, perspectives and ideologies that I come across. I also intend to apply the skills I have developed in various experiences to promote global learning and building international communities.
Why did you choose to come to UMaine?
The University of Maine gave me the opportunity to be part of Honors College, one of the most competitive colleges on campus. I knew that pursuing a degree program at Honors College would improve my writing skills and allow me to realize my potential in a rigorous academic environment. I believed the University of Maine would be a safe decision to explore my various interests. I also thought it was an opportunity to connect with people from other parts of the US and around the world as well.
Describe the research or internship in which you participated.
One of my current internships is at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. I have devoted my career to international trade. It is with my passion for global studies and international community building, with years of leadership experience in operations, people management, community building and business strategy that I am delighted to pursue the Latin American program internship at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Savants. As an intern for the Latin American program at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, I hope to improve my skills in leadership, time management, observation, trilingual, communication and networking. I am delighted to continue this internship and bring my passion and a unique blend of skills and experiences to such a dynamic, competitive, growing and educational organization. I also hope to gain valuable experience in organizing conferences, library and internet research, publication assistance and general administrative tasks (data entry, proofreading, website management, event planning. ) which will serve me well at the start of my thesis at Honors College on the topic of international economics and pursue a career in international business. I want to make this internship a rewarding experience by being proactive. I am committed to producing world-class public research and programs with the goal of making real impact, developing myself personally and professionally, and learning from people who are experts in their fields. Another of my current internships is with the Camden Conference, a non-profit, non-partisan educational organization that promotes civil discourse on critical global challenges between policymakers, academics and journalists. I work under the direction of Education Committee Chair Matt Storin and with the Student Education Fund to plan high school and college programs for future conferences.
What other activities on campus take up your time?
I am very involved in various student organizations on campus. I am currently the Head of the International Funds Sector of the University of Maine Student Portfolio Investment Fund (SPIFFY), and as the Head of the International Funds Sector, I manage approximately $ 700,000 of international positions on ETFs. This competitive, engaging and valuable student organization has helped me gain hands-on investment and financial management experience. I am a member of the International Student Association of the University of Maine (ISA). I helped organize various activities and events (Coffee Hour, Culturefest, International Dance Festival, Friday Night Soccer) to involve international and multicultural students in the community. In addition, I made the entities of the campus aware of diversity. I am also a member of the Multicultural Affairs Committee, the African Students Association and the Caribbean & Latinx Student Alliance. I am a student ambassador for the Recruitment Office and Honors College at the University of Maine. I recruit potential students and assist their transition to higher education, I promote valuable academic services and participate in student activities, programs and orientations. This experience allowed me to acquire skills in communication, networking, project management and marketing. I also worked alongside Associate Dean Melissa Ladenheim as Honors College Student Ambassador during the last semester. It has been a rewarding experience reaching out to potential and current students with the goal of building and sustaining an Honors College community.
UMaine students wishing to apply to U.S. Fulbright student programs can contact the Major Scholarships Office at email@example.com. The internal application deadline is August 31 for a scholarship starting in fall 2022.
“Santi’s strengths are his keen intelligence, his winning personality, his mature and genuine concern for others and the esteem he has for everyone he thinks he can learn from,” said Klose.
Contact: Marcus Wolf, 207.581.3721; firstname.lastname@example.org