By Kirsten Raper, Chattanooga, Tenn. —
UTC, along with only two other universities, has been selected to host the Study of U.S. Institutes for Student Leaders from Europe.
The two other universities that were chosen for this opportunity are the University of South Carolina and the University of Oregon. The program is made possible because the universities were selected as the recipient of a competitive grant from the nonprofit organization FHI 360. There were 15 other schools that applied for this grant as well.
“It is a very big deal that UTC was selected,” said Lindsey Lanier, program director. “We just wrote the best grant that we could and we are very grateful to have been chosen.”
SUSI takes place over the course of five weeks. Students from all over Europe are chosen by the State Department to come to the United States to participate in different events and discussions relating to a multitude of themes and topics.
Each university was assigned a specific theme to focus on, and UTC was picked to present the Social Entrepreneurship theme, which includes topics such as social justice and diversity.
“I really hope that SUSI can give students more of an understanding of the world outside of their own. I also hope it gives them tools to make their home countries as well as America better. Many of the students are concerned with partnerships and networking between countries and to seek answers outside of your own country expands your toolbox,” said Lainer.
Mohamed Azzuhri is a student from France who studies math and physics at the University of Strasbourg. Azzuhri attended SUSI here at UTC last summer and said that program was a great experience but also a challenge.
“It was the best experience of my life,” said Azzuhri. “The program enabled me to show my ability to act as a leader in real situations and to find out the meaning of American social entrepreneurship It was a real challenge.”
Azzuhri said that 200 students in France alone applied for SUSI, but only he and three others were selected. Despite the fierce competition, Azzuhri knew that he wanted to apply for SUSI as soon as he heard about the program.
“When I found out about this program, I immediately felt that I had to apply for it. To me, the SUSI program meant a new start in life, a new experience. Moreover, it was an opportunity for me to build my own character,” said Azzuhri.
Eagerness like Azzuhri’s is start of making Chattanooga more globalized, which is Lainer’s main goal of the program.
“This program really brings a global community to UTC, and that is really the goal of the Office of International Programs,” said Lanier. “We want to globalize Chattanooga and make it a hub for international education.”