See the World with The University of New Orleans

Spring & Summer 2012 Recipients

Gabrielle Lombard | Kathryn Wilson | Johnny DeMaine | Evan Davis | Esteban Sotomayer | Jade Cooley
Aashish Lamicchane | Benny "Kaji" Armstrong | Emily Bruner | Jamie Doyle | Maha Thomas | Aisha Soto

Here are reports from students who received UNO SG Study Abroad Awards in 2012.

Gabrielle Lombard

UNO Glories of France
Summer Study Abroad Program 2012
Recipient of the UNO SG Undergraduate Studies Award for Study Abroad
UNO Elementary Education Major

Gabbly Lombard

This past summer, I spent five wonderful weeks in the south of France with UNO’s Glories of France program. While in France I came to appreciate so much about America, but my eyes were also opened to many new ideas and perspectives.
            This was my first trip to anywhere outside of the U.S. and I could not have asked for a better experience. The places we visited were not only beautiful, but pivotal in helping one to develop a full sense of how diverse France is. Mrs. Marie and the Glories of France staff are amazing and truly work to create a memorable trip for the students. I am counting down the days when I am not only able to return to France, but also to continue to explore more of Europe.
           While on the program, I was also chosen to be a program Ambassador, so my SG Award and Ambassador Award duties were combined. The other Ambassadors and I were responsible for setting up and maintaining the breakfast area for one week each, we helped set up a regional wine and food tasting for the trip participants, we helped the interns with the end of the trip clean-up and inspections, and we cooked for the spaghetti night in which participants were treated to dinner served by the faculty.
            When I received the SG award in the spring to use during my trip, I was excited and relieved. The SG award allowed me to have fun and take advantage of the many French experiences without worrying about money. This award was a huge blessing and I am so grateful for this award. Thank you for helping me make my dreams a reality.


Kathryn Wilson

UNO International Student Exchange Program to
Hamburg University of Applied Sciences (HAW), Spring 2012
Recipient of the UNO SG Graduate Studies Award for Study Abroad

UNO MFA in Photography

           My project for this award was to create a new PowerPoint presentation for the international student exchange program. I also had regular correspondence with Ben through the semester, who is currently on a semester in Hamburg. While I was in Germany, I spoke to many students interested in doing an exchange semester in New Orleans about life in this city and at UNO.
           It definitely improved my UNO degree. For one I was able to take a sound design class and work with the film department there, learning technical skills I would not have been able to gain in the UNO fine arts dept. I believe it will also improve my chances at being hired by the fine arts department to teach abroad in a summer program as they sometimes hire recent graduates to do this. I also think it will look good to future employers as I am interested in looking for work internationally, and I know the HAW art department is regarded as a really good school in Germany. In addition to that I made connections with professors there who may be able to assist me in my future employment abroad with letters of recommendation and so on. The little bit of Germany I picked up can definitely help as well.
           Getting the SG Award was such a great help to me while in Germany as I didn't have any income for the semester as I usually do in New Orleans. On top of that, it helped allow me to do some travels while I was there. The trip that was most significant to my MFA degree was my experience at Documenta 13, a major art exhibition in Kassel Germany which only takes place every five years. This trip allowed me to see first hand much of the work currently being done in my field and also inspired me and my own art.

Johnny DeMaine

UNO-Innsbruck: Academic Year Abroad
Spring 2012
Recipient of the UNO SG Senatorial Award for Study Abroad
UNO Interdiscplinary Studies (IDS) Major

Johnny Demaine

           What I did to earn my award was very much geared towards helping the students who will take advantage of the study abroad program in the future. I helped a lot of students in Innsbruck who aspired to study in New Orleans by providing assistance and insight about New Orleans as well as structuring and modernizing the 'Study Guide' which is given to every student who goes abroad. I also made a short 'Sneak Peak' compilation of photos and tips for future students planning to come to Innsbruck so they can get an idea of what to expect and what kind of things to look forward to.
           I received my degree from UNO after spending two years in NOLA and two years Innsbruck and I am so happy and thankful for everyone who helped me along the way. My years abroad took me precisely in direction I wanted to go and I couldn't be happier, as a proud University of New Orleans graduate, to be able to now leave something behind that will help future students have a great experience in Innsbruck!

Evan Davis

UNO-Costa Rica
Summer 2012
Recipient of the UNO SG Presidential Award for Study Abroad

UNO Psychology Major

       My summer semester abroad in San Ramón, Costa Rica afforded me not only with unforgettable experiences, but also with immeasurable life lessons. Upon registering for the program, I had no idea I’d be setting myself up for the most exciting, eye-opening summer of my life thus far.
     A week before we departed for Costa Rica I took the MCAT to apply for medical school—something I had unsuccessfully done the previous summer. April had been a particularly stressful month; I was rejected from medical school, my grandmother passed away, and my girlfriend of 4.5 years broke up with me. I felt that 5 weeks abroad would be exactly what I would need to get my mind off the stress that had been building up.  (Receiving the SG President’s award definitely marked the beginning of the end of this stress). When I arrived at the airport on May 19th, I was not nervous at all; I was nothing but optimistic about new experiences, new friends, and new lessons. It took less than a day for all the stress I had left in New Orleans to disappear.  When I finally got to meet my host family, I was welcomed with smiles and open arms, and I knew my home for the following 5 weeks would be nothing but bliss.  The small, yet comfortable and welcoming sense of San Ramón was nothing short of refreshing.  Living in a town where I could walk wherever I needed to go and knowing I always had someone down the street to hang out with made it so that there was not a dull moment during the entire trip.  I didn’t have my cell phone, and I may have watched television once (besides watching soccer matches with friends at local bars); I completely removed myself from the American lifestyle I was used to. I really learned to appreciate a new culture. I learned to deal with a foreign currency, to speak Spanish more efficiently, and I feel like I became more efficient in terms of navigating since there are no street signs in San Ramón, or street names for that matter.  Besides Intermediate Spanish, I was taking Natural History of Costa Rica with Dr. Kraig Derstler, which helped me appreciate the vast biodiversity of the country. Above all, I found the weekend trips to be the best part of the entire experience. I visited three tropical beaches and an active volcano. I learned to surf, fed wild monkeys, swam in hot springs, rode horse back and zip-lined through the rainforest, and snorkeled in the pacific ocean. I felt like I experienced more in 5 weeks than most people experience in their entire lives.  I cannot forget the life-long friendships I made while I was there. I have done my best to keep in touch with most of them, and I will continue to do so. Something about experiencing an entirely new lifestyle really brings people together—I learned to not be afraid to ask for help, and at times when some of us were unsure what to do, it was great to figure things out together.  Words cannot describe how exciting it was to have experienced so much in such a short time period.
      On the day we left, my host mother, Yolanda, took my hands, and with a smile, told me I’ll always have a family in Costa Rica. This statement brought tears to my eyes because the personal significance of the whole experience had come to light for me. Being in Costa Rica taught me that the world is far too great to be concerned with trivial problems like a breakup or a minor setback in school.  Seeing that there is so much more to this world than what I’ve known taught me that the new and unfamiliar can be immensely engaging and personally fulfilling, and I really feel like everyone should try to study abroad at some point in his or her college career.

Esteban Sotomayor

Summer 2012
Recipient of the UNO SG Undergraduate Award for Study Abroad
UNO Marketing & Business Major


I was selected as an SG Award Recipient to assist the summer program in Innsbruck, Austria. I had projects and task over there in which I helped the staff on.  I was involved in the jambalaya night, I helped on the trip to the BMW and I also wrote a section for the Nordkette newspaper. All the events in which I participated were really successful. For the jambalaya night, we had the chance to share sometime with faculty and Austrian students. In the case of the BMW factory field trip we had all the seats filled and students told us that they had a lot of fun seeing how such cars are made. For the Nordkette newspaper, I wrote about my experience in the F1 car racing in Germany that for me was one of my trip highlights.

Having the chance of going to Europe is something I would always be grateful for. Not many people in my country have the chance to visit Europe and spend so much time traveling and visiting so many amazing places this continent offers. I wouldn’t have been able to make this trip if it wasn’t for the Student Government award. I really believe that this trip made me a much better person because now I can understand how people on different continents live. It also means a lot more for me because I visited places as Budapest that has always been a dream for me to visit. Overall this experience is until now the most amazing thing that it has ever happen to me in my whole life.

This experience was definitely something that would impress any possible employer in the future. They would see that I have seen how things work on different continents in case from South America, coming to North America and now after I visited Europe I know that my view of the world is much broader and I am more prepared for work specially now that the business environment is so diverse. I actually use this in my CV because now how employees would appreciate the fact that I was able to visit Europe. 


Jade Cooley

UNO-Costa Rica
Summer 2012
Recipient of the UNO SG Senatorial Award for Study Abroad

UNO Psychology Major

While in Costa Rica I got to meet a lot of people. They were all very different and I enjoyed talking with them the best I could in my limited Spanish. I got to learn about their experiences and their opinions on life. One person that was particularly great to talk with was my host mother, Melba. She answered every question I had no matter how big or small. She was even able to tell when I wanted to ask a question but felt embarrassed, so she would just answer it without me even saying anything. 

I guess what she really taught me was the art of listening. This is something that I will need to master if I want to become a successful child psychologist. I was able to try and listen to people better while there because I really had to listen carefully to understand their language, and in doing so I really caught the inflections and emotions behind their words. 

On the second to last day I went to get my nails painted at a salon, and I ended up talking with the owner and her daughter for two hours about our entire lives. It was incredible how well we understood each other, I couldn't believe how much my Spanish had improved.

Everyone had different favorite parts of the trip but mine was definitely the people that I met and talked to.  I love just listening to what people have to say and this was such a great opportunity.


Aashish Lamicchane

UNO-International Student Exchange Program
To Berlin School of Economics and Law
Spring 2012
Recipient of the UNO SG Presidential Award for Study Abroad
UNO Biological Sciences Major


The SG Study Abroad award helped me tremendously in my semester in Berlin, Germany. It gave me the chance to explore a new country and focus on my studies. My exchange semester at the Berlin School of Economics and Law was a great experience for me because of the help of this award. 

I went to Berlin with the hopes of learning interesting material in school, learning about new cultures, meeting new people and developing a passion for exploration. There I found all of that, and much more. I was fortunate enough to have great classes that helped me in my intellectual growth and met a lot of great people. I got to experience the hip Berlin culture full of remembrances of the past and its troubled history. Berlin was a great learning experience. On top of that I got to travel to southern Bavaria, see the beautiful alps and even climbed a small mountain! 

When in Berlin, I was able to introduce people to New Orleans and how great studying in UNO was. I participated in their International Student day and talked with various students about possible study at UNO and handed out information to them. I even tried to improvise southern food hoping to entice them. It was a fun experience. I was able to help out a student who had applied to UNO and needed some advice. All in all, I feel that I proudly represented my university while I was there.

All this exposure to new ideas and culture would not have been possible without the help of the UNO International Student Exchange Program and the SG Award. Thanks a bunch!

Kaji in Nara

Benny "Kaji" Armstrong

UNO-Japan: Study at Doshisha University
Summer 2012
Recipient of the UNO SG Undergraduate Award for Study Abroad

UNO International Studies Major

This past summer I participated in the UNO-Japan study abroad at Doshisha University program. I had been to Japan on this program once before two years ago and ever since had been eager to return. My dream is ultimately to graduate and start working as an ESL teacher in Japan, so getting as much experience there as I can means a lot to me. The work I did for the student government covered a wide range of things. Before we departed on the program I helped to promote the program all around campus, in and out of classrooms, and even around the city. I helped Mary Hicks and Noriko Krenn work the study abroad program table at Japan fest in October and also poster flyers and pamphlets in Japanese restaurants in the city. In Japan I took many photos of the students and places we visited. Many of which I compiled into a slideshow which was presented at the programs closing ceremony. Some of my other photos are going to be used as future promotional material for the program. I also wrote thank you cards and had all the students sign them then personally gave them to the different groups and staff members who made everything possible. The program was everything I expected and more. I was really able to gain more connections and meet people who work in the field I am aiming toward. Thank you for helping me in my aspirations of becoming an ESL teacher for children in Japan. I truly appreciate being able to take part in such an amazing program.

Emily Bruner

Summer 2012
Recipient of the UNO SG Senatorial Award for Study Abroad
UNO Anthropolgy Major


My summer trip through the Innsbruck UNO program was one of the most rewarding and worthwhile experiences that I have had since starting college. Getting the scholarship helped make it possible for me to experience the most adventurous six weeks of my life. I made many friends with whom I hope to stay in contact for many years to come. While in the program, I represented the University at every opportunity. I helped participate in the annual Jambalaya Night. I helped prepare the food for service. I also helped great guests and sat with visitors. I also sat on a board of judges for a student’s disciplinary appeal case. I was proud to help out in every way possible. I am extremely grateful that, through the SG scholarship, I was able to take advantage of such a wonderful opportunity. I thank Student Government and the administrators for choosing me for this honor. It was truly a memorable experience.  

Jamie Doyla

Jamie Doyle

Summer 2012
Recipient of the UNO SG Undergraduate Award for Study Abroad

I have to say Innsbruck is a pretty amazing place. I enjoyed it so much I'm about 85% sure I will be back in Innsbruck for the spring/summer semester. Innsbruck was great, it put me in a completely different environment where I didn't know anyone, and could barley speak the language and you know what I did pretty darn good. I made a bunch of friends from back home, back in Innsbruck, and even a couple from UGA.

I spent some time working on a video for the program. I have gotten some student interviews, an interview with Carl Wagner the former director, and I wanted to do an interview with Bobby Dupont he was my history teacher over there, but we have to find time in both of our schedules. I got some pictures and a few videos and hopefully I can make something out of it. Also, if i happen to be back in IBK for the spring and summer I may want to get some more pictures and videos of the stuff that looking back would have been cool to have.


Maha Thomas

UNO-Costa Rica
Summer 2012
Recipient of the UNO SG Senatorial Award for Study Abroad
UNO International Studies Major


Aisha Soto

Writing Workshops in Edinburgh, Scotland
Summer 2012
Recipient of the UNO SG Graduate Award for Study Abroad
UNO MFA in Creative Writing Major




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