October 1, 2022

Summer Snapshot: Study Abroad Is Back at UMW

Pictures from University of Mary Washington summer study abroad programs say a thousand words, but in honor of this weekend’s Education Abroad Fair we asked students to use just one word to sum up their recent overseas experiences. “Enriching,” senior Julia May said of her time in Bilbao, Spain, where she took a food culture […]

Class of 2022: Stellar Student Stories, Part 2 of 3

The Class of 2022 began freshman year like any other, swept up in longstanding University of Mary Washington traditions like Move-In Day, Eagle Gathering and Honor Convocation. That all changed when they were sophomores. Classes went online, study abroad trips were postponed and everything – activities, internships and volunteer experiences – became virtual. But these […]

Class of 2022: Stellar Student Stories, Part 1 of 3

The Class of 2022 began freshman year like any other, swept up in longstanding University of Mary Washington traditions like Move-In Day, Eagle Gathering and Honor Convocation. That all changed when they were sophomores. Classes went online, study abroad trips were postponed and everything – activities, internships and volunteer experiences – became virtual. But these […]

UMW Gives Student’s Bookmobile Project a Lift

Hollis Cobb’s days growing up were bookended. He read each morning before school and snuggled in for family story time before bed. “I can appreciate how important it was that we had access to books and parents who had time to read to us,” said Cobb, now a junior English major at the University of […]

UMW Alums Find ‘Amour’ in Sharing France

Maria Dubiel has always had a passion for French. So, when she met fiancé Jalen Brown, he knew he had to immerse himself in her love language. The high school sweethearts came to the University of Mary Washington as teens, excited for independence and college life, Dubiel said. “We left an engaged couple with bachelor’s […]

Faces From Faraway Places: UMW Goes International

When Lauren Harford and Daisy Jennings arrived at the University of Mary Washington last summer, a small gesture made a big difference. Center for International Education (CIE) Director Jose Sainz personally escorted the roommates to purchase a few English comforts – a kettle, tea and biscuits – after an unexpected doctor’s visit for Harford. “I’m […]

Jill Hyman: Global Guide

Jill Hyman hails from Philadelphia, but some of her most life-changing moments happened in a rural Chinese village.

Jill Hyman, study abroad coordinator for UMW's Center for International Education.

Jill Hyman, study abroad coordinator for UMW’s Center for International Education.

“Studying abroad made me who I am today,” said Hyman, who spent a college semester in Beijing nearly a decade ago. While in China, she held a panda cub, trekked rice terrace fields, stayed in tiny hostels and shared traditional meals with locals. “Meeting people from all walks of life, thousands of miles from home, was a really meaningful experience.”

Since 2019, Hyman has helped globetrotting students plan their own overseas adventures, as the study abroad coordinator for University of Mary Washington’s Center for International Education (CIE). The Center also aids international students – there are currently more than 50 on campus – as they acclimate to life in the United States and at UMW.

“The personal, academic and professional growth that living and learning abroad facilitates is the key to developing global awareness and understanding,” said Hyman, who earned a bachelor’s degree from American University and a master’s of international education from The George Washington University.

At Mary Washington, with more than 150 programs in 60 countries, Hyman guides students through every aspect of the study abroad process, including navigating COVID protocols for international travel. CIE has monitored the ever-evolving situation, she said, working closely with government agencies, healthcare providers and academic counterparts in foreign countries since the start of the pandemic.

As International Education Week kicks off next Monday, Hyman said she feels hopeful and heartened that UMW students are beginning to travel once again.

“Our doors are open,” she said. “We’re ready to help you go abroad!”

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Q: How many UMW students are studying abroad this year?
A: We have 10 this fall and two dozen next semester, including one at sea. There are also faculty-led trips going to the Galapagos, Guatemala, Jamaica, England and Poland during spring break.

Q: What’s most rewarding about your job?
A: Seeing UMW students come to my office, anxious and unsure, and then return brimming with confidence. They often serve as CIE peer advisors after studying abroad, so it’s a privilege to get to know them better.

Q: Most challenging?
A: It was stressful when we brought our students home at the start of the pandemic, but I feel like the worst is behind us.

Q: What is one of your favorite travel memories?
A: In 2015, my husband and I got engaged in Ireland. We drove all over backroads in a rented car, seeing as much of the country as we could. He proposed on the last day, at sunset under a rainbow on the Cliffs of Moher. We dined at Knappogue Castle that evening.

Q: Where do you want to go next?
A: I have to pick one? My top five are Poland, Peru, Scotland, Taiwan and South Africa.

Q: What would surprise people about you?
A: I’ve seen all 807 television episodes and 13 movies in the Star Trek franchise. Live long and prosper, fellow nerds!

Q: What’s your motto?
A: Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.

Sainz Interviewed About Study Abroad During the Pandemic

Professor of Spanish and Center for International Education Director Jose Sainz

Professor of Spanish and Center for International Education Director Jose Sainz

Professor of Spanish and Center for International Education Director Jose Sainz was interviewed for an article in the Independent-Messenger about study abroad during the pandemic.

Jose Sainz, director of the UMW Center for International Education, said that although the university’s summer travel abroad programs are cancelled, students are allowed to independently study abroad. Students may choose to study abroad by partnering with individual companies or the university’s providers.

“Should their travel destination be within the travel guidelines of the Department of State and the CDC’s, students are free to travel as they please,” Sainz said. “We do have a number of students that are very interested.” Read more. 

 

Alumni Trio Adapt to Teaching in Madrid, Pandemic Style

When quarantine began in March 2020, Chloe Morton ’19 decided to improvise, creating virtual scavenger hunts to engage her middle and high school-aged students. It’s a typical assignment in the age of COVID-19. But she also had to add English subtitles. After all, she is teaching in Spain. One third of each graduating class at […]

Sarah Moran: Travel Guide

Sarah Moran began studying abroad even before she could read words on a map. When she was 5, her family participated in an exchange program in England through her father’s company.

Sarah Moran '10, found her way back to UMW in 2017, when she became the study abroad coordinator for the Center for International Education. Photo by Karen Pearlman.

Sarah Moran ’10, found her way back to UMW in 2017, when she became the study abroad coordinator for the Center for International Education. Photo by Karen Pearlman.

Over the years, she’s added nearly 20 stamps to her passport, hiking and rafting in Slovenia, quilting in Cuba and biking a tiny island off the Australian coast. Her wanderlust also led her to the University of Mary Washington.

“I knew when selecting a college that I wanted to study abroad, so Mary Washington was a great fit,” said Moran, a 2010 alumna who spent a semester in Ireland while completing her bachelor’s degree in business. Seven years later, she returned to UMW, this time as study abroad coordinator for the Center for International Education (CIE).

One-third of each graduating class – about 300 students – study abroad during their time at UMW, Moran said, so her office is always busy helping them find their way through the world. CIE also helps international students navigate life on campus and in the United States.

In her role, Moran, who also earned an MBA from UMW’s College of Business, organizes faculty-led programs, juggling behind-the-scenes work like logistics, marketing and finances, so instructors can focus on their classes and students. She also helps coordinate the CIE Peer Advisor program, alumni activities and social media outreach. Since COVID-19 hit in March, she’s been doing all of this from home while caring for her 15-month-old daughter.

“The pandemic may have thrown a wrench in everyone’s plans,” Moran said, but CIE is encouraging students to explore options so they’re ready to travel when the time comes.

“Leaving Mary Washington, even for a little while, is hard,” she said, “but the experiences you will find abroad, and what you’ll discover about yourself, are worth it.”

International Education Week 2020, Nov. 16 to 20, celebrates cross-cultural learning. Visit the CIE website or call (540) 654-1434 for more information about faculty-led trips, exchange partnerships and other UMW-approved experiences outside the United States.

 

“I knew when selecting a college that I wanted to study abroad, so Mary Washington was a great fit,” said Moran, who now helps current UMW students plan their travels and professors coordinate faculty-led trips. Photo by Karen Pearlman.

“I knew when selecting a college that I wanted to study abroad, so Mary Washington was a great fit,” said Moran, who now helps current UMW students plan their travels and professors coordinate faculty-led trips. Photo by Karen Pearlman.

Q: How can students prepare now for future study abroad experiences?
A: We hosted “Travel Tuesday” Q&A’s earlier this fall semester, which were a great way for prospective students to ask questions of study abroad alums and program staff. CIE is also attending virtual admissions events and hosted a panel during Family Weekend.

Q: What’s the most rewarding part of your job?
A: Helping students go abroad and have a fulfilling experience when they didn’t think it was a possibility.

Q: The most challenging?
A: When students don’t take responsibility for their own experience and are disappointed that it didn’t go the way they expected.

Q: How do you spend your free time?
A: I like to read and listen to audiobooks, go on long walks and watch Netflix. I also enjoy puzzles and coloring.

Q: What would people be surprised to learn about you?
A: Growing up I wanted to be a pastry chef, and I was a Junior Olympic fencer in high school.

Q: What’s next on your travel bucket list?
A: My next big trip is Austria, Hungary and the Czech Republic.

Q: What’s your motto?
A: These days, I often repeat the phrase “strength, peace and patience.” I also like “Happiness is a journey, not the destination.”