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Global Perspectives - Autumn 2015 Newsletter

In this issue of Global Perspectives, you will find the following stories:

  1. President Drake Facilitates Connections in China
  2. William Brustein on global perspectives
  3. 2015 Open Doors Report
  4. New May Programs Bring New Options for Students to Study Abroad in 2015-2016
  5. Three Ohio State doctoral candidates earn Fulbright-Hays grants
  6. Mershon Research Project in Bangladesh Chosen for Grant Challenge
  7. International Student Profile 
  8. Orientation welcomes new international students to Ohio State
  9. International Agriculture Initiative
  10. Study Abroad Profiles

President Drake Facilitates Connections in China

China Gateway ribbon cutting celebration

Building on Ohio State’s faculty research and alumni connections in China, Ohio State President Michael V. Drake, MD visited with some of the university’s long-standing partners and took time to meet with hundreds of alumni and friends in Beijing and Shanghai during his five day visit to the world’s most populous country.

Visits to China Agricultural University, Fudan University and Suzhou University solidified partnerships and renewed collaborations in the area of food, agriculture and environmental sciences. Alumni and friend receptions were held in Beijing and Shanghai so that President Drake and other Ohio State leaders – William Brustein, vice provost for global strategies and international affairs, Michael Eicher, senior vice president for advancement and Bruce McPheron, dean, College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences – could provide updates on university achievements, discuss ways for alumni to become involved with the university and offer insight as to how they can help impact Ohio State’s goals.

Highlights of the visit included:

  • A memorandum of agreement was signed with China Agricultural University
  • Some 200 guests attended Ohio State's alumni and parents reception in Beijing
  • A ribbon cutting ceremony was held to celebrate the opening of a new office for Ohio State’s China Gateway. About 75 alumni, and community and business leaders attended the reception
  • Some 200 guests attended Ohio State’s alumni and parents reception in Shanghai
  • A letter of intent was signed with Fudan University
  • A meeting was held with President Xiulin Zhu at Suzhou University to discuss the potential for future research collaborations
  • President Drake presented opening remarks at the Global Collaboration Conference on Antibiotic Resistance Mitigation and Food Safety, Science, Innovation and Strategies

William Brustein on Global Perspectives

William Brustein

It is inspiring when you think about all of the major international grants that have been awarded to our faculty over the past few years. They are finding new and innovative ways to fund their research and collaborate with colleagues at institutions of higher education around the world. Not only are they seeking and winning external funding, but more opportunities for internationally focused projects are becoming available internally as well.

For example, the Office of International Affairs, the Office of Research, PHPID, the Office of Undergraduate Education and the China Gateway have joined together to develop grant opportunities with wide-ranging, international themes. Branded as Academic Enrichment Grants, funding will support Ohio State’s Discovery Themes, faculty, graduate and undergraduate student research and the development of new education abroad programs – activities that will have a lasting, global impact. The total amount of funding available across all tracks for the Enrichment Grants is between $90,000 and $100,000, plus an additional $25,000 is available for the China Gateway Research Seed Grant.

Projects that address global issues (public health, public policy, climate change, sustainability), explore languages, cultures, arts and politics, or that promote the understanding of countries, cultures and peoples, are all possible. And I encourage our faculty and students to review the criteria and apply by December 1.

Engaging faculty and supporting Ohio State’s Discovery Themes only helps us further our international goals. Faculty that work with colleagues across the globe are able to inspire and be inspired, teach others and learn at the same time, monitor progress and create momentum as they work side by side to develop solutions to the world’s greatest challenges.

We hope these Enrichment Grants enable faculty and students to pursue their international goals and enable them to make an impact.

William Brustein, Ph.D., is vice provost for global strategies and international affairs. He is dedicated to fully integrating international and multicultural experiences to the academic units within the university and expanding and enhancing our global reach.

Ohio State Ranked in the Top 10 Nationally for Study Abroad and Top 15 for International Students

O-H-I-O, IrelandThe Ohio State University is ranked in the top 10 nationally among doctoral institutions for the number of students studying abroad and is in the top 15 for its international student enrollment, according to a national report released today.

Ohio State ranks 7th among the nation’s colleges and universities with 2,539 students studying abroad in 2013-14, a 12.5 percent increase over the previous year. Ohio State ranks 2nd in the nation for the number of students participating in short-term programs with 2,493 studying abroad for one to eight weeks during the academic year.

Ohio State ranks 14th in the nation with 7,121* international students enrolled in 2014, an increase of 4.7 percent.

These findings were issued as part of the 2015 Open Doors Report, an annual survey published by the Institute of International Education in partnership with the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

Participation in study abroad at Ohio State continues to steadily grow as a result of a few key factors. Ohio State developed new and innovative programming geared toward first and second year students, instituted a university-wide commitment to make international opportunities more accessible to diverse student populations and offered close to 60 study abroad opportunities during May session. Close to 850 of the 2,359 students that studied abroad in 2013-14 took advantage of the four-week May session programs.

“May session provides students with an opportune moment in their college career to study abroad and gain international experience in their field of study or complete General Education requirements,” said William Brustein, vice provost for global strategies and international affairs. “Students can now more easily gain international knowledge and perspective and still have time over summer break to take advantage of internships and other types of professional experience that will prepare them for their future careers.”

The slight increase in international student enrollment follows the university’s strategy of steady growth to ensure the quality of its applicants continues to rise. Ohio State enrolled 6,800 international students in 2013.

“Our recruitment strategy is geared toward gradual growth in our international student population to ensure we have enhanced programming in place that will help our students adapt to a new cultural environment, while supporting their academic success at Ohio State,” Brustein said.

Read more. 

New May Program Options for Students to Study Abroad

Buckeyes Abroad in GreeceStudents can explore the culture and history of New Zealand, study art in Italy or trace the evolution of culture, religion and power in the eastern Mediterranean as part of several new study abroad programs coming to Ohio State in 2015-2016. With more than 200 programs in 50 different countries, students have many options to find the program best suited for them. View the new programs offered below and explore all study abroad opportunities using the study abroad search tool.

New May Programs in 2015-2016

Crossroad of East and West - Turkey and Greece traces the evolution of culture, religion and power in the eastern Mediterranean, focusing on the reception of classical culture by the Byzantine empire, the Ottoman empire and the modern nations of Turkey and Greece. Students will focus on these configurations of power and culture in the eastern Mediterranean, the crosswords of Europe and Asia, and Christianity and Islam.

Engineering of Ancient Greece will take students to some of the classic engineering and archaeological sites as well as some of the outstanding religious structures in Greece. Students will learn the importance of iconic engineering sites and excavations and the various methods used for their construction, why they were built and why some were abandoned.

Global May New Zealand will introduce students to the unique history and culture of New Zealand. Through an intensive immersion program students will combine classroom instruction with cultural visits and community engagement projects. The focus of the course is on language and identity, which will enable students to become immersed in the culture and history of New Zealand.

Pathways: The Influence of Ancient Art on Contemporary Art - Italy enables students to explore Siena, Italy. Students will have access to museums, churches, collections, archives and other historic and cultural resources of Siena through partnering with the staff, faculty and programming of the Art Institute. This art course features studio assignments and visits to cultural institutions, readings, discussions, and critiques. Topics of exploration include walking, drawing, collecting, and other forms of "mapping" of local areas and structures and their traditions.

Public Health Perspectives: Finland and Estonia provides a basic introduction to global public health and discusses links between public health, educational, social and economic development with special emphasis on Finnish and Estonian societies. Students will critically examine the role of culture, education, economy and environment on public health-related issues in both classroom settings and through extensive travel throughout Finland and Estonia.

Read more.

Three Ohio State doctoral candidates earn Fulbright-Hays grants

Three doctoral candidates from The Ohio State University have been awarded the prestigious Fulbright-Hays grant by the U.S. Department of Education. William Chou, Department of History, Devin Grammon, Department of Spanish and Portuguese and Keshia Lai, Department of History, are the recipients of a Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad (DDRA) grant.

Chou will conduct research for his dissertation from January – December 2016 in Tokyo examining "Made with America: Transpacific Networks and the Construction of Japanese Quality and Appeal, 1952- 1982." He will be affiliated with the University of Tokyo’s Interfaculty Initiative in Information Studies and Osaka University. During his year in Tokyo, he will be researching materials in Japanese corporate, industry and government archives to see how the Japanese have exchanged and adapted technological and marketing knowledge from the United States.

Grammon will travel to Cusco January – December 2016 to research "Intercultural competence: Dialect Features and Global Education" in Cusco, Peru. He will be affiliated with Centro Tinku, a cultural center and language school, and the National University of Saint Anthony the Abbot. During his year of ethnographic fieldwork in Cusco, Grammon will be a participant observer among students, instructors and others in volunteering and service-learning endeavors that are combined with foreign language study. He will investigate how participants’ use of languages and local dialect features relate to social relationships and participants’ beliefs about how language relates to their social worlds.

Lai will be in Singapore from January – August 2016 to research "Americanizing Singaporean Mormons, 1968-1995: Conversations about Race, Gender and Family." She will be affiliated with Nanyang Technological University. While in Singapore, Lai will examine the impact of Mormonism on the lives of Singaporeans by conducting oral history interviews with at least 70 Singaporean Mormons. She will also use the National Archives of Singapore to access historical documents concerning government policies on religion, race and gender.

The Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad Fellowship Program provides opportunities for doctoral candidates to engage in full-time dissertation research abroad in modern foreign languages and area studies. The program is designed to contribute to the development and improvement of the study of modern foreign languages and area studies in the United States.


The Office of International Affairs administers the Fulbright-Hays program for Ohio State. Grant competitions are held annually. Doctoral candidates interested in applying for the award should contact Fulbright-Hays program director Joanna Kukielka-Blaser.

Mershon Project in Bangladesh Chosen for Grant Challenge

Craig Jenkins and team members meeting with the Amkhola Union chairman and villagersWhat do you get when you combine the efforts of the Rockefeller Foundation, U.S. Agency for International Development, and Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency?

You get the Global Resilience Partnership, a campaign to foster alliances and drive innovation by creating opportunities for scale, impact, and sustainability in the Sahel, Horn of Africa, and South and Southeast Asia – areas where new ideas and approaches can help countries and communities prepare for, adapt to, and recover in the face of chronic shocks and stresses.

This year, the partnership selected “Climate Change Challenges and Community Adaption in Coastal Bangladesh,” organized by J. Craig Jenkins, past director of the Mershon Center, and C.K. Shum, professor in the School of Earth Sciences, as one of 17 projects in its Global Resilience Challenge. The project was chosen out of a field of more than 500 applicants.

Since being chosen, project teams have been exploring the effects of persistent cycles of drought, storms, famine, and other disasters on vulnerable populations, and identifying locally driven, scalable solutions that can help communities adapt and recover while reducing vulnerabilities.

Jenkins and Shum are studying the effects of flooding in coastal Bangladesh, home to 60 million people, a third of whom live in poverty. The area is highly vulnerable to monsoonal flooding, salt water intrusion, drought, severe river erosion, sea level rise, and land subsidence. Each year more than 10 percent of crops are lost and more than 30,000 people are displaced.

The project team is working with the Belmont Forum’s Band-AID project to measure flooding and land subsidence using MODIS satellite data. They found that flooding and erosion in the Megnha River region has led to a 6 percent change in population over a decade. Six parishads have disappeared entirely due to river erosion, and land is sinking at the rate of an inch per year.

“The Meghna River complex carries one of the world’s largest river flows driven by the Himilayan melt plus intense monsoons,” Jenkins said. Climate change intensifies the effect: “Rainfall extremes are increasing along with temperature extremes, which mean more glacial melt and monsoon rainfall, often coming from across the 1500-mile-wide drainage area.”

The team has also traveled to Bangladesh several times for fieldwork, including observations, focus groups and interviews with leaders and residents in several villages to better understand the environmental challenges they face and how they are adapting.

Ultimately Jenkins and Shum hope to establish a local Water Resources Center with three facilities: a school to provide training in community development for partnering NGOs and government agencies; a research facility to provide training in evaluation surveys and methods; and a data center to provide a range of information on water quality and quantity.

For more information, please visit the Mershon Center for International Security Studies.

International Student Profile - Jason Galo 

Jason GaloWhat is your home country and city?

San Pedro Sula, Honduras

What is your major(s)/minor(s)/area of study?

I’m a second year medical student at The Ohio State University College of Medicine.

When did you arrive in the United States/Columbus and how long will you be here?

I arrived to Columbus five years ago, in 2010, when I started my undergraduate studies. I have two and a half years of medical school left, and depending on the specialty that I end up going into, I may be in school for up to 6-7 more years. With that in mind, I plan on spending considerably more time in the United States and I’m thinking about practicing medicine here as well.

Why did you choose Ohio State?

The reason why I picked Ohio State is a complex story. My parents in Honduras founded a medical brigade program with Ohio State medical school that brings medical brigades from OSU to Honduras twice a year. When I was still in high school in Honduras, I volunteered with the program as a medical interpreter and met many Ohio State medical students. They encouraged me to apply and to come to Ohio State.

What have you become involved with during your time at Ohio State (student organizations, jobs, etc.)?

During undergrad I was involved in the fraternity Sigma Alpha Mu. I extended my social network a lot by joining it, and became friends with many Americans. I also was part of Nationwide Children’s Hospital undergraduate research program for two years. I conducted many surveys and gathered data for many different investigators, all while working with patients in the Emergency Department of the hospital. During my time in medical school I have worked at a primary care pediatric center in Reynoldsburg that serves mostly immigrants and an underserved population. I currently work in Powell at an Ohio Health primary care clinic under the mentorship of a family medicine physician.

What most surprised you about your experience in Columbus and the United States?

It surprised me how seriously people take college football here. It’s like a culture. People here are very proud of Ohio State football and it’s amazing how much people enjoy going to the games.

What has been the hardest thing to adapt to since you've come to Columbus?

I think it’s leaving my family and friends behind in Honduras. Although many of my friends also came to the United States for college, most of them already graduated and are now back in Honduras, while I’m here in medical school.

What is the most fun/exciting thing you've done since you arrived at Ohio State?

I think it’s been really exciting to travel around the country. I’ve been to New York City three times, to Chicago twice and to Texas three times. I also got to experience the Ohio State football culture.

Orientation Welcomes New International Students to Ohio State

Orientation Leaders and Welcome Team

Ohio State welcomed more than 1,460 international students to campus in August 2015. The students came from around the world to pursue their undergraduate, graduate, professional and doctoral degrees. After autumn check-in, there are 5,845 international students enrolled at Ohio State.

The Office of International Affairs provided numerous resources and programs to welcome students and prepare them for autumn semester. Students participated in an orientation session that provided essential information about campus safety, academic conduct, immigration and cultural adjustments. To view the orientation presentations and materials, visit oia.osu.edu.

So that international students easily adapted to life on campus and the United States, the student Welcome Team and the student Orientation Leaders offered their help by answering questions, assisting with the check-in process and leading social activities such as, group dinners, campus tours and trips to local attractions.

These students helped lead events around Columbus, and they also served as the representatives at two welcome booth locations: Port Columbus International Airport and the Ohio Union. These locations served as a resource for new international students to seek information about check-in, transportation and housing. The Airport Welcome Program offered free airport shuttles to campus every day during the five weeks preceding the start of autumn semester.

A Guidebook mobile application helped keep students stay up to date on orientation programs and events. This guide provided access to important information, including a calendar of events, campus maps, interactive photo albums, office contact information and other ways to connect to the Office of International Affairs through social media. Over a four-week period, more than 1,100 people downloaded the Guidebook on a mobile device and the application’s webpage was viewed more than 1,900 times.

International Agriculture Initiative

Discussion at the second international agricultural conference in Tanzania

Ohio State’s Office of International Programs in Agriculture in the College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences partnered with Tanzanian institutions to deliver the second international conference, “Climate Change and Multi-Dimensional Sustainability in African Agriculture” in Morogoro, Tanzania.

Through the partnership with Sokoine University of Agriculture in Morogoro, the Norwegian University of Life Sciences and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, this three-day summit focused on climate change and sustainability.

It was conducted by the Innovative Agricultural Research Initiative; a Tanzanian Feed the Future Project, which is funded by the United States Agency for International Development.

The conference brought together more than 100 international scientists and agribusiness experts. These professionals discussed topics related to climate change that affect the sustainability of agriculture in Sub-Saharan Africa. Such topics included soil fertility, value chains, conservation agriculture, water management, private sector and extension solutions for sustainability, and international, national and local policies for agricultural sustainability.

To learn more about this initiative, please visit the College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences website

Study Abroad Profiles 

Sunder Sai

Sunder Sai in Budapest, Hungary

Sunder Sai, a sophomore studying neuroscience, traveled with the Global May Hungary 2015 program, and pursued further travels to the Czech Republic, Germany and Spain.

“While we primarily learn within the classroom, there is so much waiting to be discovered beyond it. The reason I chose to study abroad is because I wanted to step outside my comfort zone and take advantage of one of the many opportunities Ohio State offers. The Global May Hungary program allowed me to immerse myself within a culture I was not previously familiar with. I ultimately accomplished my desire to learn more about the world and myself.

I discovered that I am deeply interested in communist history and European politics from visiting other countries beyond Hungary like Austria, Poland and Romania. I am now reconsidering my career path and will be pursuing a minor in either international relations or Slavic and East European studies.

By studying abroad after my first year at Ohio State, I made life long memories that changed my college experience and the way I look at the world today. Because of this trip I had the opportunity to meet 25 strangers who became some of my closest friends. My favorite memory was celebrating my 19th birthday in Warsaw, Poland, surrounded by my favorite Buckeyes and my amazing professor. I am so thankful for the adventure that was my study abroad experience.”

For more, please visit Sunder Sai's study abroad profile.

Ali Baker

Ali Baker abroad in Ireland

Ali Baker, a sophomore studying speech and hearing science and education, traveled abroad with the May session program, The History and Archaeology of Medieval Ireland: Trim and the Blackfriary.

“It’s no secret that my major isn’t exactly related to the program I chose, but I’ve always wanted to visit Ireland and I enjoy history, so I decided to apply. I saw this program as a way of broadening my horizons from just sitting in a classroom to really experiencing what I was learning.

I’ve only been at Ohio State for a year, but I’m confident that the four weeks I spent in Ireland will be some of my favorite memories. I got to know my professor personally, bond with 17 other Buckeyes I never would have had the opportunity to meet, and learn the history of Ireland without a single textbook. In just a month, I got to visit so many amazing places in Ireland from Belfast to Loughcrew to the Cliffs of Moher, find artifacts from a 13th century friary, and immerse myself in the Irish culture.

Although I could write a novel about my experiences on the trip, my favorite would have to be singing Carmen Ohio as a group at the end of trip BBQ. I came into the trip not knowing anyone or anything about medieval Ireland, but there I was four weeks later with the people I had come to love, in a place that felt like home, singing about what had brought us all together in the first place – Ohio State. There’s no doubt this won’t be my last study abroad experience."

For more, please visit Ali Baker's study abroad profile.