The achievements of international students at the University of Houston were honored Friday in a special double event held at the University Hilton.
The occasion marked the official founding meeting of the Delta Iota chapter of Phi Beta Delta, the first honor society dedicated to recognizing scholarly achievement in international education, and honored recipients of the International Education Fee Scholarship.
"Going abroad is an unforgettable experience, not only for personal enrichment but also as an experience that may be used in one's professional life as the world is broadening," UH System Chancellor/UH President Arthur Smith said.
The IEFS partially funds students participating in study-abroad programs. Recipients of the scholarship are chosen according to their academic achievements, their motivation to go abroad and the extent to which their stays abroad will contribute to their studies.
"We combined the two events because the Phi Beta Delta honor society and the studying abroad program have a lot in common," said Anita Gaines, director of International Student and Scholar Services and Delta Iota chapter coordinator.
"The goals are to provide a networking opportunity for international and American students as well as for faculty and staff to share information for international educational opportunities at the University of Houston as well as throughout the world," she said.
This year's IEF program was supported by several scholarships made possible by the Houston Chamber of Commerce.
Erin Williams, a French and cultural anthropology double major, was initiated in Phi Beta Delta. She also participated in a study abroad program in Bourges, France, in 1995.
"I would go there again tomorrow if I could," she said. "We mainly spent our time with the host families and learned a great deal about the culture."
Elsa Ibrahim applied for a study abroad program through the College of Architecture. In June, she will be leaving for Saintes, a small town near Bourdeaux, France.
"The program gives the possibility to gain experience that we are going to bring back into our job sphere and into our community to encourage other students to include international experience in their studying," she said.
The six-week trip to Saintes will allow students to participate in local projects, like working on a local museum as part of the existing city-college partnership.
The other destinations for the trip will be Paris, Venice and Graz, Austria.
"We will work together with local architects, allowing us to gain insight in European architecture, but at the same time we will be representing the University of Houston," Ibrahin said.
Besides the College of Architecture, students from many other UH colleges received IEF scholarships.