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Southwestern Students Receive Awards for Intercultural Leadership

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    Nicholas Arcuri's experiences during his semester in Denmark included a short study tour to Bornholm, an island south of Sweden that is owned by Denmark.

Two are recognized for making the most of their fall 2011 study abroad experience in Denmark

Two Southwestern University students who studied in Denmark in fall 2011 have received Intercultural Leadership Awards from the Danish Institute for Study Abroad (DIS).

The DIS Intercultural Leadership Award recognizes students who have worked actively to immerse themselves in Danish society through classwork, housing and participation in immersion activities and opportunities throughout the semester. Students can apply for the award if they have earned “points” by participating in a variety of activities during the  semester and write a short essay about their experiences with intercultural leadership.

Morgan McReynolds, a junior psychology major, earned most of her points through extensive travel and her stay with a host family.

“My host family also opened my eyes to Danish culture in so many ways,” McReynolds wrote in her essay. “They were always curious about my life at home which made it so easy for me to open up and ask them questions in return. Not only learning about Danish culture, but also experiencing it, has allowed me to broaden my horizons and welcome new things. I know that the things I have learned in Copenhagen will have an impact on how I view the world and make decisions in the future. I was only here for a short period of time, but my experiences and memories of Denmark will stay with me for a lifetime.“

Nicholas Arcuri, a junior psychology major, earned his leadership points by volunteering at two different sites and keeping a blog about his experiences. Arcuri volunteered at a psychiatric outreach center and also helped teach English to eighth and ninth graders at a Muslim school in Copenhagen. He kept a blog about his experiences at http://nobubbleshieldincopenhagen.blogspot.com/

“Volunteering has been a great opportunity for me to push my boundaries and to experience Danish society and culture to a greater extent,” Arcuri wrote in his essay. “As I return home to my volunteering organizations in the United States, I know I will be able to use the experience I gained in Denmark to enhance my experiences at home.”

McReynolds and Arcuri were honored at a Dec. 9 reception before they returned home.

“While the cultural immersion is a natural part of study abroad, it is not always a priority for students,” said DIS Director Anders Uhrskov. “Our goal is to have all students reach out of their comfort zone with an open mind to get the most out of their study abroad experience. Showing that (students) have taken an active role in their study abroad  experience and have taken steps toward understanding the global landscape illustrates to graduate schools and future employers that they are an asset and will be engaging and competent students or employees.”