By Mallory Sherwood, Managing Editor
Next spring, students will be able to return to Montevideo, Uruguay, to participate in the Study Abroad program that was suspended this fall until a permanent director was found when the on-site directors, Dr. Warren Roane and his wife, returned to the United States when their children began high school.
Dr. Rhonda Collier, associate professor of English at Lipscomb University in Nashville, Tenn., was named Friday to be the permanent on-site director for the Uruguay program beginning in January 2006.
Collier, a professor at Lipscomb since 2001, graduated with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in industrial engineering from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville and Georgia Tech, respectively. She also earned a master of arts degree in English and in comparative literature from the University of Tenneesse-Chattanooga, according to the Nashville City paper. Collier also completed her doctorate in comparative literature.
In addition to these degrees, she also was a Fulbright Scholar in 2001 and studied at Sao Paulo University in Brazil.
“We have hired someone that we feel has a lot of experience,” said Kevin Kehl, Study Abroad director.
Kehl said the director had to meet academic qualifications, have international experience living and working abroad and must be fluent in Spanish, all of which Collier meets, he said.
Collier will begin working in Uruguay with the next group of Study Abroad students and will co-direct in the spring with Dr. Bob McKelvain, chair of the psychology department.
Nearly 150-200 students have gone through the Uruguay program since it began in 1999.
Cristina del Pinal, sophomore business management major from Fort Worth returned in May after spending four months touring Central America, despite only being a freshman. She said she was glad that the business department made an exception for her since she was a major and was already fluent in Spanish because she was able to grow from her time in Uruguay.
“My experience was amazing,” del Pinal said. “I got to try new things that I had never done before. I got to experience making decisions on my own, traveling and participating in a mission trip that really opened my eyes. It was a really growing experience.”
Students who attend a Study Abroad Program will not only gain experience traveling internationally, make life long friends and bask in the 80 degree weather during the winter season but they will also receive 16 hours of credit, too.
Dr. Jeff Houghton, assistant professor of management taught a management class and international business class that was tailored to Latin America culture and his wife, Loree Houghton, development director for KACU, taught a class called Latin American and the Arts, which focused on the literature, music, arts and architecture of the culture this spring.
This was the first time for the Houghtons to teach in Uruguay, but not the first time for them to study abroad. Jeff Houghton said they taught last summer in Oxford as well.
Besides the major specific and general education course offered, students also participated in group classes to learn Spanish with the Houghtons.
“It was such a wild experience to be teaching these students one hour and the next hour to be working alongside them, struggling to learn Spanish in the beginner’s course,” Jeff Houghton said.
Both Houghtons said they would return to Uruguay the first chance that they had because they already missed the students, country and food.
“Ask any student who has ever gone and they’ll tell you the best thing is the food,” Jeff Houghton said. “Raquel, the full-time cook made us the best food I’ve ever had in my life.”
Loree Houghton said the country was not a desperate medical field, like many students may think.
“It is a European city that is comparable to Prague,” Loree Houghton said. “It is a beach city where there is water surrounding three sides and sycamore trees line every street.
“This is a unique education experience unlike anything you’ve ever done before,” Loree Houghton said.