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Student Pairs Chosen for International Student Collaboration

For the second summer in a row, several Washington and Lee University international students will be paired with American students for projects and cultural experiences in the international students’ home countries.

The university’s Center for International Education this year selected four pairs of students for the program, which is funded by part of a $219,000 grant from the Endeavor Foundation, formerly known as the Christian A. Johnson Foundation. The collaboration will continue for the next two years. Each selected student will receive a grant of $3,500 toward expenses.

This year’s student pairs and their projects:

Matthew Carl ’17 and Melina Knabe ’17 will go to Berlin in Knabe’s home country, Germany, where the pair will use soccer to help refugee children settle in Germany. Their project is called “The Refugees of Germany: Soccer, Service and Stories.” It includes organizing and leading one-day soccer camps with refugee children and youth in Berlin, participating in service work geared toward refugees in the Berlin area, and telling the stories of those they encounter through pictures, video footage, and a bilingual website, “Refugees of Germany.”

Yolanda Yang ’18 and Savannah Kimble ’18 will travel to Shanghai and Beijing, China, to compare and contrast how American movies are presented in the U.S. and China for their project, “The Chinese Cinematography Experience: Observing American and Chinese Films from Political, Psychological and Artistic Angles.” They will examine the overall artistic effect of edited Chinese films compared to their American counterparts, and answer questions such as, “By eliminating gratuitous violence from a film, is a larger message about societal violence missed?”

Elissavet Chartrampila ’18 and Maren Lundgren ’18 plan to spend the summer in Chartrampila’s home country of Greece to study “Greece’s Refugee Crisis.” They hope to work with a non-governmental agency to obtain a sense of the scope of the refugee situation in a country that is struggling with a financial crisis. The project is driven by Chartrampila and Lundgren’s desire to assist NGOs working with refugees, and to document their plight.

Laura Wang ’19 and Natalie Dabrowski ’19 will undertake a project titled “Food and Modernizing Culture in Guangzhou, China.” In Wang’s home city, they will examine the relationship between modernization and the availability of traditional versus contemporary restaurants in four different districts of Guangzhou, China.

The purpose of the International Student Collaboration is to expose American students to unfamiliar places and cultures, and to allow the international students to view their home countries through the eyes of people who have never been there. As pairs, the students will ideally perform service in international communities and present the results of their projects when they return to campus for the next academic year.

Last year, the program sent five pairs of students to Argentina, Cameroon, Costa Rica, China and Mongolia.