Members of the Board of the Foundation Friends UC, met over lunch with recipients of the Cristóbal Conde Scholarship and the “Leading the Way” Scholarship that provides students with an intensive course in the English language plus an opportunity to expand their knowledge of the English language at a summer program at Drexel University in the USA.
Foundation President, Ms. Sava Thomas, expressed her delight at sharing this moment with the young grantees. She talked about past students’ experiences with the “Leading the Way” scholarship and explained: “This is one of the most endearing projects I have taken part in. It really has had a great impact on students. I met some of them first at the UC campus Oriente and then in New York during their trip”.
Mrs. Thomas remarked about the positive changes she noticed in the students who took part in the exchange, not only at a linguistic but also a personal level. “They are people with a lot of potential and this experience will have an impact on their future” she said at the beginning of the meeting.
Opening up to the world through a new language
The program includes three stages. In the first one, students are encouraged to develop their linguistic skills by having access to the Global Classroom platform and by exchanging experiences with other students learning English and Spanish. A second stage requires the completion and submission of written assignments and an interview to choose final candidates for study abroad. In a third stage, selected students are invited to take part in a 5-weeks’ immersive language experience at Drexel University in Philadelphia.
Nelson Figueroa, a final year Statistics student was one of the scholarship recipients: “It was my first trip abroad and this experience included numerous challenges and achievements. I improved my English level for instance. Before, I had difficulties with English but now I know I am capable of sustaining a conversation.” He explained that, on top of his linguistic improvements, he also enjoyed learning more about North American culture and customs.
“It has been a wonderful experience, I have beautiful memories. Living for some time in another country opens your mind to new horizons and experiences. It has been a game-changing experience” Eva Luna Valdivieso, a student from College in Arts, Humanities and Theater, explained.
“A UC that gives more opportunities”
For UC Rector Ignacio Sánchez, this kind of encounter is very important because “it gives us the opportunity to meet the students and hear about their experiences. It also allows us to hear of the generous support provided by those who love the university.”
Eulalia Donoso, the mother of the eponymous grant patron, Cristóbal Conde, also attended the lunch. In honor of Cristóbal Conde, member of the board of Friends and a generous donor to the Foundation, Friends decided to name this scholarship after him which has allowed the university to provide supplementary grants to economically-vulnerable students with outstanding academic records. It is this kind of initiatives, as Mr. Sánchez pointed out, that “contributes to a more inclusive UC, a UC that gives more opportunities.”
Third-year Business Studies student David Belmar explained that he initially financed his study program through a bank loan. “At the end of my first semester, Friends UC Foundation, selected me for the Cristóbal Conde grant which has allowed me to sort out my financial situation. For us, the recipients, this program also entails creating an academic community. We can also help new grantees with orientation and personal accompaniment. It is a way to “give back”.
Another grant recipient, Catalina Palma is a third-year Architecture student. She is from Temuco and also has travel and accommodation costs to cover. As she explained, “receiving this grant has allowed me to worry less about money and focus on my studies. Between the grant provided by the state and the Cristóbal Conde Scholarship, I now have all my costs covered which it is a huge relief.”
Scholarship Recipients Buffet-Lunch and Conversation