Global Scholars, an International Option for SCCFA Students

November 23, 2010

By: Melissa McGuire

With her bags packed and passport in hand, Samantha Parker, is ready to embark on her next travel experience.

Parker, a senior in the Department of Art, has had multiple international opportunities because she is a Bradley University Global Scholar.

Slane College of Communications and Fine Arts Global Scholars are required to complete at least two one-semester-hour seminars, enroll in at least one semester of a foreign language, and participate in an international study abroad experience.

During Parker's freshman year, she spent three weeks in Barcelona, Spain, studying the political and cultural surroundings of the Francoist dictatorship throughout the 1940s. Her junior year was spent studying art and art history in Italy. She lived in Cortona, which is where the movie "Under the Tuscan Sun" is set.

Parker said studying abroad is a rewarding and surreal experience.   "The most wonderful part of living abroad was this complete sense of autonomy," Parker said. "For the most part, we had no technological communication with the outside world. On top of that, the feeling of staying in a foreign country is sometimes dreamlike in that you don't always comprehend the vernacular language or customs of where you are, and geographically, are unfamiliar with your surroundings. It is like being lost in a strange world"a world that gives you a chance to slow down and focus on just living and being happy."

The only challenge Parker encountered during her travels was making the initial commitment. According to Parker, students must understand the length of the program, and that they won't be able to see loved ones for a while.

 "Once the plane lands and a new adventure begins, you realize it's completely worth being away from home for awhile," Parker said.

 Bradley's Global Scholar program has made Parker passionate about Italy, especially Cortona.  "I think if I were offered the opportunity to travel somewhere once a year every year, I would keep going back there [Cortona]," Parker said. "There is just something about the place that draws you in and makes you want to stay."

Parker is currently applying to graduate schools to earn a Master of Fine Arts degree with a concentration in printmaking. After that, she hopes to teach at the college level and develop her artistic portfolio.