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UD first-year students go abroad

Photos and Video by Nikki Laws

New Blue Hens flock to Rome and Madrid for their first semester as UD World Scholars

In late August, thousands of new undergraduates celebrated their official welcome to the University of Delaware community during the Twilight Induction Ceremony overlooking Memorial Hall on the South Green in Newark.

Thousands of miles away, 79 UD freshmen began their college careers in Rome and Madrid as the newest members of the UD World Scholars Program. Throughout the fall, Scholars will explore cultures and experience newfound independence while studying global politics, languages, and more at our partner institutions -- John Cabot University and St. Louis University - Madrid.

Feelings of excitement and anticipation were shared by students and families during their official send-offs at Philadelphia International Airport.


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UD World Scholars gather at Philadelphia International Airport before their flights to Rome and Madrid.


“I’m most excited about just exploring the world, learning new things, meeting new people and kind of just finding who I am in this world,” said Grant Mobley, an economics major from Maryland.

As the Scholars boarded their flights to Italy and Spain, each received a handwritten postcard from the students who came before them.

“Get excited for your time abroad. I promise that it will influence and empower you in many ways,” advised Matthew Anderson, a class of 2020 World Scholar who spent his first semester in Madrid. “Remember to take advantage of your experience. Make friends with Spaniards, explore the city and have fun.”

Exploration is a key theme of the program, as students are guided on excursions throughout their host cities, engage in service with their local communities and travel in groups and pairs throughout the country and region. As freshmen abroad, Scholars also participate in traditional college activities such as club sports, theatre and music, but the choice to begin their studies in another country is decidedly non-traditional.


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A World Scholar gets a hug before departure at Philadelphia International Airport.


According to the Institute of International Education’s, Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange, approximately 313,415 U.S. students studied abroad in 2014-15.  Of this number, only 3.9% were freshmen.

Representing five UD Colleges and 26 majors, including University Studies, World Scholars embrace their unusual situation.

“With this experience, it will be different,” said Ayline Mejia, a communications interest major from New Castle, Del. “Having a different route than most people will be good.”

For Ayline and all of the Scholars, their first semester abroad is just the beginning of a four-year commitment.  Upon arriving on UD’s campus in spring of freshman year, World Scholars declare a globally-focused minor, join clubs and dive into the greater UD community. In their sophomore year, Scholars live alongside international students in the International House Living Learning Community, polishing intercultural skills and making new friends.  As juniors, World Scholars head abroad for a second time, earning academic credits and enhancing their professional portfolios through an internship, community service or research experience. Their participation culminates in a Spring Scholars Symposium at the close of their senior year.

The World Scholars Program was developed by the Institute for Global Studies, in partnership with Enrollment Management, to provide students with international aspirations -- regardless of academic discipline -- a four-year structured series of global opportunities both on- and off-campus. On the eve of the 95th anniversary of founding the first study abroad program by a U.S. institution, UD continues to be an innovator in international higher education.

“Freshman abroad programs exist at other institutions,” said Amy Greenwald Foley, associate director for global outreach, “but none are a part of a robust four-year experience.  Ours is a unique and customizable opportunity for those students who wish to live and work anywhere in the world.”

To learn more, follow @UDGlobal on Instagram and Twitter, and engage with the World Scholar community through #UDWorldScholar.

About the Institute for Global Studies

The Institute for Global Studies (IGS) was created in 2009 to enhance the international dimensions of teaching, research and outreach at the University of Delaware. IGS provides leadership and support for programs and experiences that contribute to the education of informed, skilled, open-minded citizens of the world.

Best known for coordinating the University’s study abroad program, IGS also awards scholarships and grants to faculty and students, administers State Department-sponsored programs such as the UD Fulbright Initiative, Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI) Student Leaders Institute and the Study of the U.S. Institutes for Student Leaders on Women’s Leadership (SUSI-WL) program, and sponsors globally-focused events throughout the year.

IGS collaborates with campus partners, including the Office for International Students and Scholars, the Confucius Institute and the Center for Global and Area Studies. In addition, IGS partners with Enrollment Management to coordinate the UD World Scholars Program.


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