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H A P P E N I N G H E R E S U M M E R 2 0 1 7 U o f L M A G A Z I N E | 1 5 RESEARCH & ACADEMICS Study abroad provides cultural experience, résumé boost COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT MAPPING A PATH TO IMMIGRANT RESOURCES "Maybe with all the bad things (wars and terrorism) that are happening, people are understanding that bridging cultures is more important." A growing number of University of Louisville students are studying abroad despite global political instability or, perhaps in part, because of it. According to UofL's Office of Study Abroad and International Travel, 782 students received credit for studying overseas in the 2015-16 academic year, 151 more than five years ago. UofL senior Jennifer Owen is one of those students. Owen, who is from Pendleton County, Kentucky, studied in southern France then spent another semester in Senegal, living with a Muslim family. She says studying abroad taught her "to be comfortable with being uncomfortable" without Louisville's immigrants and refugees should get a boost in welcoming aid from a wide range of UofL and community tech-savvy volunteers working to improve their access to area resources. The project has grown through two UofL collaborative hackathon sessions in which people of many skillsets combine their talents to solve problems. The first was during the November celebration of Inter- national GIS Day. DJ Biddle, GIS (geographic information system) technology consultant, and Patrick Smith, community partnership assessment coordinator with the community engagement office, chose to focus on Louisville's resettlement population in working with several city organizations and Louisville Metro government along being afraid. "Maybe with all the bad things (wars and terrorism) that are happening, people are under- standing that bridging cultures is more important" Owen said. UofL sends students to 70 coun- tries, all of them deemed "safe" for U.S. citizens by the State Depart- ment. Lee Sims from Harrodsburg, Kentucky, went to the University of Frieberg in Germany to study with researchers from around the world. "This is the first time I was completely on my own" Sims said, adding that he overcame language barriers and trying different foods to gain confidence. The rich cultural and academic experiences gained through study abroad also helps students when they graduate. "They're thinking big picture," said Kimber Guinn, study abroad advisor. "They've seen the stats that say if you've studied abroad you have a higher chance of earning more money and getting a good job after graduation and they want that. They want to make themselves marketable." Owen admits that was part of her motivation for doing two stints studying overseas. "It's going to set you apart on résumés," she said. "An employer wants to know you can be put in difficult situations and be OK with it." with geography students. The result is a website with an interactive map of many local services (medical, legal, educa- tional, language, transportation, for example), which Biddle said is now in a "public beta stage" of sharing with Kentucky Refugee Ministries and others for feedback on its usefulness, ultimately as an app for computer or phone. The other component is a "storymap" about Louisville as a welcoming city. In a spring hackathon, dozens of students, staff and professors from across the College of Arts and Sciences, as well as engineering, huddled with laptops to augment the site by tagging keywords for easier searching for all the resource guide's services. Others brain- stormed on improving the storymap landing page,, and sparking more involvement. "In creating a structure, frame- work and foundation of resources, this will assist people coming into the Louisville area to become integrated and engaged as quickly as possible," said Bryan Warren, director of Louisville Metro's Office for Globalization, who participated in the March hackathon. Faculty, staff, students and com- munity members volunteered their time at UofL March 31 for hacktheville 2017, an event geared to refining a resource guide and advocacy for immigrant and refugee services.

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