Summer programs draw scholars from around the world

Scholars from around the world are getting a cram course in American academia this summer from UC Santa Cruz Extension's English Language and International Programs department.

Whether it's Egyptian teachers, Fulbright Scholars, or professionals participating in the Humphrey Fellows program, UCSC is drawing an international clientele.

A group of 25 teachers from Egypt have just headed home following a teacher-training initiative, and now the University Town Center, the program's base, is playing host to 10 Fulbright Scholars. On July 21, 26 Humphrey Fellows--midcareer professionals preparing for a year of study and professional experience at American universities--will arrive for a three-week orientation.

While the focus of the Egyptian group was on training teachers to train other teachers, the aim of the intensive Fulbright and Humphrey Scholars sessions is to orient participants to the ways of American universities.

There is a heavy emphasis on fine-tuning English skills, and also an effort to ease participants into American culture. Some of the Fulbright Scholars audit or enroll in UCSC classes, and they get further acclimated to the United States by having UCSC student roommates.

Some of the biggest adjustments involve nonacademic issues, noted Lori Buehring of the English Language and International Programs department. "Many of the the students are married, and this is the first time they've lived alone," she said. They also often are not used to cooking, and have trouble finding familiar foods in local grocery stores, she added.

Community and government tours and weekend trips are planned to help the Humphrey Fellows learn more about the United States, said program host Jay Minert. They will also be matched with cultural and professional mentors.

Academic sessions are tailored to each group's needs. For the Fulbright Scholars, who are being prepared to work toward master's degrees and Ph.D.s at American universities, the focus is on English skills, writing, and other academic preparation for American graduate schools. 'They're learning about what's expected in the United States university system," said Lorie Buehring of UCSC Extension. The students are engaged in many fields, including marine biology, library science, natural resource management, and marketing. In August, the Fulbright Scholars will start leaving Santa Cruz to begin graduate school at institutions as varied as Yale, Purdue, Texas A&M, and San Jose State. While Fulbright orientations were once conducted only in the summer, the program is now year-round.

The Humphrey Fellows will undergo an intensive week of English practice, followed by sessions on presentation skills, intercultural communication issues, academic honesty, and computer workshops. The fellows come from many countries, including China, Slovakia, Brazil, and Middle Eastern nations. "Some of them are very well established in their home countries," said Minert. The fellows include pharmacists, economists, doctors, bankers, and educators--"It is a pretty wide range."

A Global Forum is scheduled for August 6 and 7 to showcase the Humphrey Fellows and give other members of the campus community a chance to meet them before they move on to their assigned universities in the east. Details of the event will be decided later this summer.

The Fulbright Program was established in 1946 under legislation introduced by the U.S. senator J. William Fulbright of Arkansas. The Humphrey Fellowship Program was founded in 1978 in honor of U.S. senator and vice president Hubert H. Humphrey. Both programs are federally funded.


NOTE: Interviews with one or more of the Humphrey Fellows may be possible after they arrive on July 21. Among them are:

Dr. Saosan Mamoun of Syria. Dr. Mamoun works for the Syrian Ministry of Health and will attend Tulane University as his host university. He will be studying public health policy and management.

Senghi Park of South Korea. Park works for the Ministry of Labor, and her major area of interest is human resource management. She will be studying at the University of North Carolina.

Dr. Reminder Kaur of Malaysia. Kaur works for the Department of Psychiatry in the Kuala Lumpur Hospital. Her major interest is substance abuse and prevention, and she will be studying at Johns Hopkins University.