Logan Suhr says the opportunity to study abroad this spring gave him a better understanding of the world and was one of his most important experiences.
A Global Gateway scholarship allowed him to have the cultural experience of a lifetime, he said, all while becoming educated about Germany's many biological processing facilities that included farms and research labs.
"I learned about the different ways Germany is finding and using alternative energy sources instead of the traditional ones it's relied on in the past," said Suhr, a UNL senior mechanical engineering major from Lincoln. "I also learned a lot about Germany itself, such as its history, culture and its people."
Life-altering experiences such as his are the reason the University of Nebraska set a goal to increase student study abroad and international partnerships, including giving every undergraduate the opportunity for a meaningful international experience through classes, internships, research or service learning.
To assist with this goal, the University of Nebraska Foundation awarded UNL a $300,000 grant to support the third year of the Global Gateway Program. The program is designed to promote and enhance global competency among undergraduate students while creating more opportunities within the curriculum for students to engage the world.
The need for college graduates to have understanding of world issues and cultures are reasons the University of Nebraska encourages undergraduates to gain international experience.
"The grant resources are prioritized to help students who don't have study abroad experience and to support faculty who haven't led international travel," UNL Chancellor Harvey Perlman said. "An assessment engages students before and after their time abroad to measure outcomes from their experience. It's then our hope they have an opportunity to say to potential employers and others, 'I can demonstrate this experience had an impact on the way I think about the world and myself.'"
The University of Nebraska Foundation's board of directors awarded a total of seven grants across the university totaling more than $1.1 million, including the grant to UNL. The grants are awarded each year and are made possible through unrestricted donations. This year, University of Nebraska president James B. Milliken asked chancellors to submit grant proposals on the theme of global engagement. Increasing private support for global engagement activities is also a priority of the university's fundraising initiative, the Campaign for Nebraska: Unlimited Possibilities.
"It's especially important now to have an internationally connected university and students who are knowledgeable about the world, so we're especially proud of these grant awards," said Brian Hamilton of Grand Island, a University of Nebraska Foundation board director who chairs the grants committee. "We also recognize and thank the donors who make these grants possible."
For Suhr, the mechanical engineering student, studying abroad is one of the most important experiences a college student can have.
"All throughout our educational experience we are taught about these different countries and cultures, but we only learn about them in books and from what people say," he said. "I encourage everyone who can to at some point study abroad and see the world for themselves."
— Robb Crouch, NU Foundation
More details at: http://www.nufoundation.org