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Global Study and Service Return to Pre-COVID Levels of Participation

UST study abroad students in ArgentinaGreater Things on the global stage continued to unfold for Celts as the 2022-2023 academic year marked a banner return to learning and service abroad. With 109 students studying in fourteen countries throughout the Americas, Africa, Europe and Asia, the University of St. Thomas-Houston returned to pre-COVID levels of participation.  Now spanning the world, UST has offered faculty-led studies abroad since the first program in Merida, Mexico, in the early 1970s provided Spanish language and culture classes. 

This past academic year, faculty led student groups to study Biology in Costa Rica, integrated studies in Western Europe, international development in Argentina, and Mandarin in Taiwan. Education and nursing students studied and conducted service work in Kenya with another group of nursing students learning and being of service in Honduras. The Pragmatic Studies Program provided a pioneering study abroad experience in Belize, and Celts conducted pilgrimages to the Holy Land and to World Youth Day in Portugal. Semester-long individual student exchanges with UST sister universities took place in France, Japan, Spain and Taiwan.

Study abroad biology students in Costa RicaFaculty Leading Global Encounters and Dialogue

Responsible for these incredible opportunities for academic, personal and spiritual growth are the faculty members from across UST who design and lead group programs.  Program leaders for 2022-23 were:

Argentina - Dr. Ulyses Balderas (International Studies) 

Belize – Dr. Tera Torres (Pragmatic Studies)

Costa Rica - Dr. Gabe Villares and Dr. Albert Ribes-Zamora (Biology)

Honduras – Dr. Kristina Leyden (Nursing)

Israel – Fr. Rosales Acosta Dempsey (Theology) and Adjunct Professor Elizabeth Kimes (Theology)

Kenya – Dr. Anne Gichuri (Education) and Dr. Lucindra Campbell-Law (Nursing)

Portugal – Sr. Maria Frassati Jakupcak (Theology) and Ms. Abigail Bielstein (Campus Ministry)

Taiwan – Dr. Yao-Yuan Yeh (International Studies)

Western Europe – Dr. Tom Behr (Division Dean, Social & Behavioral Sciences)

Study abroad in the Holy Land Scholarships Help Open the World to Celts

Thanks to a generous gift from a community friend, UST was able to double the funding for Celt Study Abroad Scholarship and made awards to 33 students. Participants in the Holy Land trip received additional generous support from the Albert and Ethel Herzstein Jewish Studies Endowment and Taiwan travelers were awarded scholarships from the Taiwan Studies Endowment. Of special note and kudos: Kim Pham, a Biology major who studied in Costa Rica, was one of two students in the United States to receive a Lewerglobal Scholarship.

Plans for the New Academic Year

Plans are underway for faculty-led programs this year with prospective group travel to Belize, Honduras, Kenya, Italy, Romania, Spain and Taiwan to name a few destinations. More details will be published soon.  Individual Celts have already made plans to start the fall at various sister universities in Argentina, France, Mexico, Spain and Taiwan. 

Faculty interested in leading a program should contact Associate Vice President for International Relations & Engagement, Dr. Hans Stockton.  Students wanting to learn more about study abroad options can visit the Study Abroad Program webpage and contact Study Abroad Advisor Ms. Andrea Pineda at studyabroad@stthom.edu.