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Gallaudet Students Have Opportunity to See the World As They Study

Gallaudet senior Sophie Yesuneh was the first Gallaudet student to ever win the U.S. State Department’s prestigious Gilman award. Here she is, second from right, with folks from the Anusarnsunthorn School for the Deaf in Chiang Mai, Thailand during the spring 2018 semester. Photo courtesy of Sophie Yesuneh.

College is the perfect time for students to explore the world and encounter new cultures. While a campus provides a venue for exploring new ideas and theories through textbooks and lectures, exposure to different cultures in real-life situations is the catalyst where students apply the concepts they have learned, and in the process, reach a primary objective of higher education-intellectual enlightenment.

For decades, Gallaudet has offered students opportunities to study, intern, conduct research, and participate in community service outside the United States. A renewed emphasis on the value of international engagement – both education abroad and the presence of international students on campus – has made the global experience a top priority in producing graduates who are truly world citizens.

Today, Gallaudet scholars seeking international learning experiences are benefiting from the expertise of Rebecca AbuRakia-Einhorn, the University’s first education abroad coordinator, in the Office of Research Support and International Affairs.

AbuRakia-Einhorn, who holds master’s degrees in international affairs and public administration from American University, works with campus departments involved in international study, internships, research, and other opportunities for faculty and students, to help ensure enriching outcomes. Her work includes monitoring potential placement sites to help ensure the safety of campus community members who consider traveling outside the U.S. Jarvis Grindstaff, ’14, assists AbuRakia-Einhorn in her efforts.

The results have been impressive. During the 2017-2018 academic year, 82 students expressed interest in education abroad and 74 students came in for advising appointments. This summer, 15 students took classes or interned outside the U.S.

AbuRakia-Einhorn has also promoted the availability of Gilman Scholarships, U.S. Department of State scholarships of up to $5,000 that enable students of limited financial means to study or intern abroad for a summer or a semester. Four Gallaudet students received Gilmans this year.

In July, AbuRakia-Einhorn was informed that Gallaudet won a $20,000 Generation Study Abroad Access Grant from the Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE) to build a program in Madrid, Spain, where Gallaudet students will study Spanish Deaf Culture and LSE (Spanish Sign Language).

AbuRakia-Einhorn believes that traveling outside the country, especially for a longer period of time, can be a fantastic part of the college experience. While it is normal to feel frustration at times, she advises students to regard their education abroad as an adventure where unknown rewards await that they would never encounter if they had stayed at home.

The first-ever Gallaudet Education Abroad orientation took place on April 27, 2018.

Front row, from left: Rebecca AbuRakia-Einhorn, JamiLee Hoglind, Paulette Melendez, Nora Rodriguez, and Pawel Smistek

Back row, from left: Jarvis Grindstaff, CJ Hirsch, Angel Cloud, Monique Johnson, Chris Jappah, Doris Alcantara, and Malik Amman.

Photo courtesy of Rebecca AbuRakia-Einhorn.

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