Mike Scanlin (Founder)
The Chris Borton Memorial Scholarship Fund is now in its thirteenth year and with the addition of the current three recipients, 35 UC San Diego students have benefited from your generous contributions. They have pursued international study at universities in China, Denmark, Egypt, England, France, Germany, Ghana, Holland, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Scotland, Senegal, and Spain. For up to date details see the Fund web site.
According to a survey conducted by the Forum on Education Abroad regarding the impact of the global economic crisis, 66 percent of the 155 university respondents were negatively impacted in the past year. Student scholarships were one of the areas identified as the most likely to have budgets slashed. The scholarships we are able to offer with your continued support are thus all the more important. A second trend identified in the survey was an increase in the number of students engaging in shorter term (summer or one semester) programs rather than full year programs. The scholarships we give are to students going abroad for an entire academic year, reflecting our belief that true “immersion” is more likely to occur over a full year—a sentiment echoed by returning Borton scholars. Joachim Lyon (China, 2004-05) quite eloquently wrote, “An abroad student who arrives in a foreign land knowing she will live there for at least twelve months approaches with great brevity the struggles of adjustment and the joys of finding meaning in a different lifestyle and reality; students who know they will only stick around for six months or less feel exponentially less pressure to engage, understand, and adopt the rhythms of local life in a deep way. In the end, I think it is the emotional commitment required in a full year abroad which gives rise to the intuitions we need in this generation of professionals, teachers, and political leaders.” Similarly, Kipp Trieu (France, 2008-09) wrote that students should be encouraged to study abroad for a year in order “to fully immerse themselves in the new culture….endeavor to understand, to know another people and their culture, and in turn to respect and appreciate the differences and similarities.”
Current Scholarship Recipients
Cindy Bao, a Literatures of the World major with a minor in Chinese Studies, is studying at Peking University where she is taking courses in Chinese Literature. To prepare for her time at Peking University, she spent the summer in Beijing Normal University’s intense Mandarin course for American students. Cindy had her first experience of living in China through participation in the Legends of the Silk Road program in 2008. Through spending a full year immersed in Chinese culture, she hopes “to restore my disappearing connection to my cultural heritage” as well as find and secure her identity and “gain the understanding, wisdom and grace of the culture of my motherhood.” On her first morning in Beijing, Cindy discovered small eateries and bought thirty dumplings; on the second day, a group of EAP students got lost and were happy to end up in “hutongs,” or traditional residential areas.
A Composite Literature major in Spanish and English Literatures, Hanna Rahimi wrote in her application that “moving to Spain will help me further develop my sense of self, give me the opportunity to see new parts of the world, new ways of life, and new ways of thinking.” Hanna’s minor in music is grounded in her love of singing. In four years of high school she sang in fourteen different choirs, ranging from school choirs to community choirs to jazz ensembles. At UCSD she was a member of an all female a cappella group and the La Jolla Symphony Chorus. Hanna felt that “staying abroad for the year, rather than a shorter trip, will allow me to go beyond the blatant differences and discover the more subtle aspects of the culture that cannot be seen in a few months. Instead of being a visitor to the country, I will have the chance to be a part of it, to feel at home in a new and wonderful place.” Ray and Verena were fortunate enough to host Hanna for an afternoon in Davis prior to her departure for Spain. Since arriving in Spain, Hanna has explored Granada and its environs, hiking in the mountains around the city and loving the fact that everything in Granada is accessible on foot and the city is full of life at night. She posts detailed descriptions of her experiences on a blog, from the classroom to tourist trips to Barcelona and the beach. Early on, she noted that the most interesting difference between Spanish and American culture was the fact that time in Spain is “of no consequence, everything we do is at our leisure.”
Alexandra Delaney, a Physiology and Neuroscience major and Biology minor, is studying at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark. She has a clear vision of her academic goals: “I knew I wanted to be a scientist when I unlocked the mysteries of Jell-O at age five and as I grew older I decided a career in medicine and research was the best way to synthesize my interest in biology with international collaboration.” She decided Denmark would be the ideal location for her study abroad because the University of Copenhagen has an internationally recognized neuroscience PhD program and she hopes to work with an investigator in the neuroscience graduate program. In accepting the scholarship, Alexandra wrote: “I feel fortunate and immensely grateful. I hope I can live up to the legacy of all the previous applicants, and most importantly, Chris.” Reflecting on her upcoming year in Copenhagen, she said: “I do not know how I am going to be changed or what I will experience, but I know something remarkable is going to come of it. Study abroad will not be just another academic experience, it will be a transformation in lifestyle and attitude that will impact me for years to come. I will not waste this gift.” In July, Ray and Verena were pleased to welcome Alexandra to Davis and spend some hours in conversation with her. In Copenhagen she lives in a single room on a hallway where she shares a kitchen with 22 other students. “It’s like a big family and we all share chores and cooking.” To celebrate the end of exams in late October, Alexandra was planning to introduce her “family” to pumpkin pie. She enjoys biking around Copenhagen and practicing her Danish. While on a trip to Paris she spoke Danish so the French wouldn’t know she was an American. She is looking forward to witnessing history in the making when world leaders descend on Copenhagen for the Climate Change Conference in December.
Hearts and Scholars Dinner
In February, Ray, Verena and Ben made a trip to San Diego to attend UCSD’s Hearts and Scholars Dinner. This annual event brings together scholarship recipients and donors. We were joined at dinner by all four Borton scholars still on campus — Nicola Hil (France, 2007-08), Naomi Oglivie (Germany, 2007-08), Emilie Ellis (Germany, 2007-08), and Jennifer Kim (Spain, 2006-07). One of the high points of the event was when a series of statements about the impact of undergraduate scholarships on recipients were presented. A student read the impact portion and an alumna read the “what I am doing now” part. The final reading was a statement from Borton scholar Joachim Lyon that highlighted the emotional impact of receiving a scholarship: “Getting a scholarship, no matter how small, tangibly says: We think you are worthwhile; we think your efforts mean something; we take seriously what you are working on and we hope you too continue to take it seriously; we believe in you.” The reading resulted in a lot of discussion at our table, and we discovered that the merit-based Borton scholarship was the first received by other recipients and had the very same confidence-building effect. The following morning we met Kim Burton, Director of the Programs Abroad office, and discussed various aspects of the scholarship application and selection process. Kim’s efforts and input over the years have been invaluable to us.
Memorial Day at “The Land”
Joachim Lyon joined Ray, Verena and Ben in the Santa Cruz mountains on Memorial Day for folk dance weekend at the Land. A significant portion of the Silicon Valley folk music and dance community makes its way to Cliff Jenkins’ beautiful property in the Santa Cruz mountains (known as “the Land”) twice a year for this event. Chris was a regular at folk dance weekend and his memorial, where the scholarship fund in his memory was first announced, was held there. In the picture at right, Joachim is looking at the tile sculpture (with folk dancers on the deck in the background), which displays tiles painted by Chris’ family and friends as a tribute to his inimitable enthusiasm for life.
Updates on recently returned Borton Scholars
Kipp Trieu (France, 2008-09) wrote in the spring to report that “according to this widget thing on Facebook on which you can track where you’ve been in the world, I have been to exactly 8% of the world….Thank you for allowing me the chances that I’m having to learn about the world and its people. 92% to go!” At Sciences Po, Kipp was hired as a Student Affairs Officer to coordinate logistics for a joint summer program between Sciences Po and Brown University. He also helped with the opening of a new regional campus in Reims focused on Transatlantic Relations. Towards the end of his time in Paris, Kipp was recruited by third-year students at Sciences Po to be the “American” for a French Web Journal and wrote an article for them about the changes and adjustments involved with a year abroad. Kipp sent us a framed photo of the Erasmus Bridge in Rotterdam because “that bridge to me kind of wrapped up the year….it symbolized the bridges that I’d been able to build and cross to connect with people through the year….and Erasmus being used loosely to mean study abroad.”
Laura Summers (Holland, 2008-09) was able to travel to ten other countries in Europe during her year in Holland. She says that “the best part about all the traveling was that every time we returned to Holland, I felt like it was home.” Her favorite Dutch word is “gezellig,” which can be heard everywhere in Holland but doesn’t have a precise English translation. The closest approximation is “cozy.” She wrote that, “Soon, everything became gezellig. Classrooms, apartments, even the dining hall.” She is planning to return to Holland in the future because “the connections and friendships I made are something I never want to let go of. Thank you again for your support. Without you I would not have been able to go abroad, let alone for a whole year.”
Updates on past Borton Scholars
At the end of her senior year, Nicola Hil (France, 2007-08) was given the Provost’s Scholar Award for Eleanor Roosevelt College, the highest academic honor the UCSD colleges bestow upon students. She also worked at the Programs Abroad office during her final year at UCSD. In this capacity, she helped with the France orientation as a returnee and talked with the students going to Lyon in particular. She wrote that, “It was fun, but also made me feel nostalgic for my time abroad…. Fortunately, I will soon be going on a new adventure abroad.” Nicola spent July and August in Sevilla, Spain doing an intensive language program. By the end of her stay, she “felt truly connected to where I was and managed to achieve an amazing level of integration into Sevilano life after just two months.” In October, she started in the California State University Capital Fellows Executive Program. Capital Fellows work in California government for eleven months as salaried employees while also completing a graduate seminar that gives the program a unique academic component.
Brian Israel (England, 2003-04) recently finished his law degree at UC Berkeley. At Berkeley, Brian pursued his passion for international law as Editor-in-Chief of the Berkeley Journal of International Law. Brian spent his last semester of law school in Washington DC interning in the Office of the Legal Advisor at the State Department (which he affectionately refers to as “L”) in L’s Office of Human Rights and Refugees. He worked there from January to April and “in April received an offer to join the Office; my dream come true.” He returned to Berkeley for graduation in April, studied for the California Bar exam until August, got engaged, took a quick trip to Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands and then moved back to DC in October to start at L. His first assignment is in the Office of International Claims and Investment Disputes where he is spending the majority of his time on cases pending before the Iran-U.S. Claims Tribunal in the Hague. Brian writes: “I couldn’t be happier with the way things are coming together. I wanted to share this with you because I am finally practicing public international law, a passion and professional aspiration I discovered while studying abroad with your support.”
Jenna Carlson (Senegal, 2005-06) visited with Ray and Verena in March and gave us an update on the continuation of her international concerns in the San Francisco Bay Area. Jenna has been a loyal visitor—this was her third time coming to the Borton home in Davis!
Alice Wagner (Scotland, 2004-05) is currently living in San Diego and working in her former major field of study, biology. She works for a small biotech company in research and development. In the coming years she hopes to attend graduate school and would like to enter the teaching profession. In a recent e-mail she recalled some of the changes and challenges she faced as a student abroad. “But with all these changes and challenges, I grew a lot. It’s become a time for me that I can look back on and say: if I can handle that, I can handle anything that is on my plate now.”
Thanks to all of you who enable us to support the efforts of these remarkable young people to become world citizens,