Mike Scanlin (Founder)
Now there are nineteen students who have received a Chris Borton Memorial Scholarship award for study abroad since 1997. On behalf of all of us involved in the project, our thanks to you whose generosity has helped to enable this group of young people to broaden their horizons by living and studying in international situations. The newest recipients are “at home” now in China, Japan and Scotland, each with travel tales and exciting experiences to relate. A web site has been created for the Chris Borton Memorial Scholarship Fund, accessible in this location: CBMSF Home Page. We will endeavor to keep it updated as much as possible, but with the high mobility of this group that is not an easy task!
Achim Lyon, a third year student in Cognitive Science with a minor in Chinese Studies, left for Beijing in June to participate in an intensive language program over the summer. Now he is studying at Peking University, taking classes in reading, writing, oral Chinese and classical Chinese poetry. “All have proven to be extremely challenging,” writes Achim, “but that is a small price to pay for the opportunity to engage in such a richly international classroom environment.” During the summer-fall break he traveled by train to Wuhan, Chongqing (with a side trip to view the Three Gorges by boat), Kunming and Shanghai. In addition to sightseeing, Achim was the first member of his family to visit his sister-in-law’s parents in Yunnan province. He writes fascinating and insightful accounts about ordinary and extraordinary events in his daily life in China. To catch the full flavor, visit http://www.xanga.com/Achim.
Henrick Shyu is a fourth year Computer Science major with an intense interest in all things Japanese. While studying Engineering at the University of Tokyo he hopes to become fluent in Japanese and use his knowledge of the language and technology to “contribute to the bridge of cultural understanding between Japan and the U.S.” Another observation Henrick made prior to his departure was that through the hardships of living in another country, he hoped to force himself to become a more outgoing person. He is in the unusual position of having his twin brother Patrick studying in Japan at the same time, although in a different program. Henrick has commented on the extreme heat in Tokyo in August (accentuated by rather formal attire), the excitement of climbing all through the night to the summit of Mt. Fuji to view an incredible sunrise, the tame deer in Nara and the experience of being “smashed into a subway train.”
Alice Wagner is spending her third year as a Biology major at the University of Edinburgh, after a brief vacation with friends in Italy and France. She chose Edinburgh because of its unique ecosystem that will afford her opportunities for field studies not available at UC San Diego, and because of the university’s large and varied science program that may help her explore new options for her future. Alice had previously traveled abroad as a member of the California Youth Symphony and Main Street Singers. She packed her clarinets and hopes to be able to join an orchestra or choir while in Scotland. Her early impressions are of the beauty of the historic city, of a flat and green landscape, of participating in “Scotland’s second national sport: standing in a queue without making eye contact” (“If you don’t see the queue, look for one.”), and of living with flatmates from all over the world.
In early July, when Achim was already in Beijing, Alice, Henrick, Ray and Verena met at the home of Joan, Dolf and little Max in Mountain View for a pleasant afternoon. It helps to get to know each other in person, learning about and discussing matters that don’t appear in the formal application or Fund description.
Here is some news from earlier scholarship recipients. Ellen Holloway visited the Bortons before departing Davis to start Law School this fall at Boston College. Mark Morris invited Ray and Verena to his commencement exercises when he received his Master of Fine Arts degree from the San Francisco Art Institute in May. Mary Jo Velasco helped celebrate Verena’s birthday in Davis last December, graduated, and is teaching English in Lyon, France this year. Brian Israel invited Ray and Verena to his home in Sonoma for dinner within hours of returning from the UK in June. His summer was filled with internships and related activities, among them working with Serbian and Croatian youth in a Peace Leadership Camp. He is now writing his senior thesis on the reconciliation process in the ethnically segregated community of Vukovar where the camp participants live. At UCSD he is also very busy as International Affairs Group Coordinator. Jacob Habinek was able to take a graduate class in Medieval Arabic Civilization in Budapest and was amazed how much he could learn about a completely new subject in a short time. He graduated “before jet lag wore off” and is finding the job market a challenge. Julia Carter took part in graduation ceremonies last spring, but has one more quarter to go.
It is getting more difficult each year to keep in touch with everyone. This letter and additional information, as it becomes available, will be posted on the CBMSF web site, created and maintained by Dolf.
We have recently seen articles that extol the benefits of study abroad. Several U.S. colleges and universities are recommending the experience for all their students and Harvard University is reported to be considering it as a requirement. The conviction, felt so strongly by Chris, that living in a different cultural environment is an essential component of a good education, reaffirms our feeling about the significant contribution to international understanding that study abroad programs bring to everyone involved. Interestingly, since 9/11 the number of U.S. students going abroad has increased while the incoming student population from outside the U.S. has decreased.
Although the CBMS Fund was affected by the economic slow-down, it has now returned more or less to its original level and we expect to be able to send at least three students abroad each year. We thank all of you for your continued support and will keep you informed of the results through this annual newsletter.