Meet the Study Abroad Ambassadors 2022-23: Michael

Meet Chatham’s Study Abroad Ambassadors for 2022-2023. These students are study abroad returnees who are available to answer questions and share their experience with interested students!

Michael Douglas

Program: Taiwan, summer 2022

My time abroad was like nothing I have ever experienced. The freedom, exploration, friendships, and experiences I had from traveling abroad have all made me a better and more enriched person.

Students can reach out to Michael via email at:


Meet the Study Abroad Ambassadors 2022-2023: Isabel

Meet Chatham’s Study Abroad Ambassadors for 2022-2023. These students are study abroad returnees who are available to answer questions and share their experience with interested students!

Isabel Smith

Program: Jordan, summer 2022

“These images are of my favorite place in Jordan, Wadi Rum. It is a desert and mountainous area, described as being the most similar location to Mars on Earth. Wadi means valley in Arabic and there are many Wadis throughout the area. Many notable films were shot here including Star Wars, The Martian, Dune, and the live action Aladdin. It was my favorite place because of the stunning views and peaceful wind. We watched the sun rise and set during our time there and it was a moving experience to watch in silence and see it so clearly because there was nothing to block the view.”

Students can reach out to Isabel via email at:

Meet the Study Abroad Ambassadors 2022-2023: Vickey

Meet Chatham’s Study Abroad Ambassadors for 2022-2023. These students are study abroad returnees who are available to answer questions and share their experience with interested students!

Vickey Kim

Program: Taiwan, summer 2022


“Going abroad to Taiwan for the summer was amazing, easily one of the most unforgettable experiences I have had in a long time. Due to Covid-19, the process of getting the Visa and having to quarantine once arrived in Taiwan required a lot of patience from the students, but mostly for the people who had organized the program. Despite the constant challenges, our program coordinator- Robin provided great support that made the whole process easy and bearable. Although we had to quarantine for two weeks, my experience of quarantining wasn’t actually excruciating as I expected because the Fulbright program had orientations throughout the week with mentors who taught us the culture, history and the norm of Taiwan. We learned how to play Mahjong during our quarantine and we were all able to connect with our cultural buddies the program had paired us with.

Next, I will discuss my school experience I had in Taiwan. I think being in a school setting was one of the times where I experienced the most cultural difference between the West and the East. As an Asian, when I arrived in the United States, I had to learn to speak up for myself and speak up when I had thought to share. Of course living in the United States for almost eight years, I adapted to the new culture, but when I arrived in Taiwan and attended the school, I realized I had to take myself back to eight years ago-to when I didn’t really share my thoughts unless my name was called or else I was seen as the American that just talked and talked in class. I quickly readjusted to the new cultural norm in Taiwan class because I was familiar with the setting, but if you are someone who has never lived or has no experience in Asian countries, I recommend keeping this in mind. Also keep in mind that just because someone doesn’t freely speak up like in America, doesn’t mean they are dumb and have nothing to say. So, don’t look down on their intelligence or sum up their personality.

Lastly, I’ve attached a few of the images from the trip in Taiwan and three of the pictures are from the optional excursion I participated in after the summer program had ended. If you are someone who is planning to go to Taiwan for the summer, I strongly recommend participating in the five day excursion because you get to go around and see so much more things than the weekend excursion during the program. Not only that, you get to bond deeper with people that you’ve already met and get to experience the authentic Taiwan. As you can see in the first image, it is a Starbucks, but Starbucks inside a container and that container has traveled through London, South Korea and many more countries and I thought it was super cool that the store was built Inside the CONTAINER! In the second image, it’s a beach, but it was really awesome because we had to climb up the rocky hill, but as it dropped, you got to experience this beach that was breathtaking and the fresh air in hot, humid Taiwan. The third image is at one of the oldest temples in Taiwan and this was during a weekend excursion. One of the most fun experiences I had during the five day excursion was on a Go-cart! It was so fun because we went early in the morning and nobody was around except us in the program. Got some fresh air and a few things probably went inside my eyes, but it was an unforgettable experience!

If you are afraid to go abroad because of financial reasons, there are plenty of options that provide financial aid for you. Don’t limit yourself because of money. It might take you more leg work compared to people who come from money, but please don’t let that stop you from having amazing experiences abroad!

Go Abroad and Live Your Life! Enjoy New Things and Go Out of Your Comfort Zone!!!”

Students can reach out to Vickey via email at:

Meet the Study Abroad Ambassadors 2022-2023: Noelle

Meet Chatham’s Study Abroad Ambassadors for 2022-2023. These students are study abroad returnees who are available to answer questions and share their experience with interested students!

Noelle Dagdagan

Program: Japan, summer 2022

“In the first photo, I am wearing a yukata (浴衣), which is a type of traditional Japanese clothing worn in the summer. Due to the intense summer heat of Japan, the yukata is more common to wear than kimono because it does not have as many layers. I really enjoyed the public transportation system in Japan because it was so easy to get around the city of Kyoto and to other prefectures. Many times, after class, I was able to go sight-seeing around Kyoto and experience the culture.

My most memorable post-class adventure was traveling to Lake Biwa (琵琶湖). It is the largest freshwater lake in Japan and is located in Shiga prefecture. A swim in the lake was just what we needed when it was over 100°F! The second picture was taken on our walk back to the train station after enjoying an afternoon in the water.”

Students can reach out to Noelle via email at:

Meet the Study Abroad Ambassadors 2022-2023: Size

Meet Chatham’s Study Abroad Ambassadors for 2022-2023. These students are study abroad returnees who are available to answer questions and share their experience with interested students!

Size Li

Program: Japan, summer 2022

“Woodblock printing and papermaking are the main learning objectives of my Japan study abroad program. One exhibits a Japanese woodblock master showing us the process of woodblock painting; another is the factory where we learn traditional Japanese papermaking.”

Students can reach out to Size via email at:

Learn More About Scholarships to Study and Intern Abroad

Welcome to fall 2022 semester at Chatham!

Are you thinking of taking your studies abroad?

Max Heller, Summer 2022, internship at Fame Lab, Thessaly, Greece

Here’s a roundup of scholarship opportunities to consider:

Gilman International Scholarship – Undergraduate students who are US citizens and Pell grant recipients can apply for up to $5,000 toward a credit-bearing study abroad or internship program.  The March 2023 deadline application will open in January for applicants whose programs start between May 1, 2023 to April 30, 2024. This cycle encompasses Summer 2023, Fall 2023, Academic Year 2023-2024, and Spring 2024 programs or internships. The application deadline is Tuesday, March 7, 2023 at 11:59pm Pacific Time.


The VIH Program for Women, Non-Binary, and Transgender Global Leaders – Undergraduate women, non-binary, transgender students of sophomore or junior status with a GPA of 3.0 or higher and no previous international experience can apply to win a $5000+ scholarship toward a summer international experience.  The application deadline is November 1, 2022.

Isabel Smith, Summer 2022 VIH Scholar, Jordan

Fund for Education Abroad supports US citizen or permanent resident undergraduate students who are underrepresented in study abroad. Applications for Summer 2023, Fall 2023, and Academic Year 2023-2024 will open on November 16, 2022.


Through the generosity of donors, two Chatham scholarships are offered to Chatham undergraduates for participation in semester study abroad programs:


IFSA Scholarship— Scholarships of up to $4,250 to study abroad for semester in Cyprus (Nicosia), Thailand (Mahidol) or Costa Rica (Veritas).  The deadline to apply for a IFSA Scholarship for Fall 2023 study abroad is March 15, 2022.


Benter Scholarship – Scholarships of up to $5,000 to study abroad for a semester go support students’ study, international travel and interactions with diverse populations outside of North America, with the highest priority given to study in Middle Eastern nations and Muslim cultures, or for any semester study abroad with a Chatham exchange or partner institution. The deadline to apply for a Benter Scholarship for Fall 2023 study abroad is March 15, 2023.

Walker Orner, Spring 2020, Benter Scholar, France

There are several experiential learning scholarships offered by Chatham for summer study abroad.  These include the Glenda Rich DeBroff Memorial Scholarship Fund, the Sally Mercke Heym Award for Cross-Cultural Understanding, the Lorin Maazel- Rachel Carson Award for Environmental Field Studies, and the Theo Colburn-Rachel Carson Endowed Scholarship for Environmental Field Studies. The application deadline for summer experiential learning scholarships is February 28, 2023.


Additionally, study abroad vouchers ($1200) and  International Studies Certificate vouchers ($1800) can be applied toward in-person or virtual credit bearing experiences abroad.


Are you looking for information on study and internship abroad program options?  If you have any questions, or for more information on study abroad vouchers, programs, and scholarships contact or make an appointment:



Making Sense of my American Life

By Chihiro Sakagami, Exchange Student at Chatham University

July 2022

“Shut the front door!” “Did I get 63 points! Seriously!?”

This is my reaction when I got an alphabet test result in junior high school, and this tragic event led me to think about my American life negatively.

Due to my father’s job transfer with Mitsubishi Motors Corporation, I lived in the U.S. between the ages of 1 and 5, and I went to Ann Arbor Hills Child Development Center in Michigan during those five years. I gained innumerable experiences, such as making many American friends, holding a birthday party at a dinosaur museum, visiting states in the U.S., and acquiring easy Spanish vocabularies. If I had not lived here, I would not have experienced these cherished experiences in my life. After I came back to Japan and started elementary school, my teacher asked me to hold English lessons for my classmates, and she gave me some opportunities to talk about my memories abroad. I loved telling my story so much that I might have talked a lot then. In elementary school, I believed that because I was good at speaking English, I must be able to get a higher score than other Japanese students.

The first English exam at junior high school came. It was the easiest exam I have ever taken because the only thing that I had to do was to fill the blanks with letters in the alphabet in the right order. Unfortunately, I couldn’t sing the ABC song in the middle of the exam, especially through N to P, which made the task of remembering the alphabet suddenly impossible for me. I remember I sang that song like “…H, I, J, K L, #$%&#$%#, O, P.” One week later, I got the result, and found it to be an impressively low score, 63 points. “What was the point of my life in Michigan? Why did so many other students get 100 points?” I lost sight of myself. I began to feel a kind of guilty of the way I spent time in Michigan and my English proficiency. Since I’m a very competitive person, I started to study English diligently and energetically with my mother who I admire as a fluent English speaker to get a good grade in the next English test. Moreover, I studied English by listening to Taylor Swift’s RED album. However, lamentably, I couldn’t get the top grade in the English test in my class throughout junior high and high school. From my perspective, the reason why I couldn’t succeed in the English tests was that I couldn’t understand the English grammar. In the lecture, my teacher often used words which were difficult for me to recognize, such as adjectives, adverbs, pronouns, and prepositions. I haven’t heard of those words when I learned English in the U.S. I still cannot believe that other students could understand the grammar which makes me feel nauseous even now.

When I was a third-grade junior high school student, I got a ticket to become a school representative in the English Speech contest for students in Aichi prefecture where I lived. To join the competition and win a gold medal was my greatest dream. I did rigorous practice every day with my mother, my American uncle, and a teacher I respected the most in order to make my dream come true. They praised me, “You are a fluent English speaker with good pronunciation and body language.” I got more courage from their support and encouragement, and I started to imagine that I could be a school representative of the speech contest by passing the audition and win at the final English contest. Although I gave my best shot, I lost the audition, and was not able to participate in the contest that I had dreamed of. I realized it is unfeasible to win something regarding English, and I wanted to delete the memory of living in the U.S. This shame and guilt lasted long, throughout my high school and college years, until one miraculous encounter at a café during my stay in Pittsburgh during my summer study-abroad program at Chatham University.

It was a scorching hot day. I found a café in Southside Flats called La Petit Café and Grille. I saw a man sending me a cute smile through the window, so I decided to have lunch there. I ordered a Western Omelet. It was delicious, but I was alone. Two women came into the café and sat next to me. I mustered up the courage to talk to them, “Would you mind if I spent lunch time with you? I am feeling a little bit lonely now.” They said “Absolutely!!” I was cock-a-hoop because they accepted my request. We talked about each other’s country, culture, my artworks, and my life in Michigan. Surprisingly, we talked about Michigan most of the time. And also, I could understand things they shared about their life in the U.S. without having to ask for paraphrasing. We talked for more than one hour, maybe two hours. We were so into the conversation that we forgot all about time. Why could I keep talking for two hours? After I said goodbye to them, I thought in my mind and recognized that it was because I had experienced living in the U.S. I had many memories and knowledge about living in the U.S. to talk about. Before I met them, I felt ashamed of my lifetime in the U.S. because I could not get better grades in speaking and writing English, even though I have an advantage over other students. This shame had been torturing me. However, thanks to this wonderful meeting, I realized I must live life without ever forgetting my feelings of appreciation towards my American life.

Maybe some people have experiences and backgrounds that they are ashamed of. However, I learned that memories have the potential to help you in the future just as my experience in America helped me talk with people for two hours. I now have a changed mindset to appreciate everything that has happened before. If I could go back to talk to my 13-year-old self, I would tell her, “Don’t care too much about your English exam score. Your experience and memories will help you to flourish in the future.”

Trying for Nothing

Trying for Nothing: A Personal Narrative by Habibullah Sorosh

In 2006, I was a second semester student at Kabul University, living in a dormitory. One night a friend told me about the film Osama, an Afghan film, directed by Seddiq Barmak in 2003, and although I had not seen the movie, I felt I knew this story from my own life. Perhaps, it was because I identified with the main character, the bitter story of her life and history, and the sadness of our time. Osama is the story of people who lost their identities under the boots of religious fascism. It is a story of fear. It features an innocent girl who bears the heavy burden of injustice, inequality, and religious extremism. The script is based on a series of painful and real events that all the people of Afghanistan have witnessed and felt.

I asked all my friends if they had this film, but no one did. As I was born into a poor family in a village far from Kabul, I had no extra money to buy anything besides food, but I was starting to obsess about how I could acquire the film.  One day, I decided that instead of going to university I would go to Kote Sangi, a public square where workers came to find work. My plan was to wait for someone to hire me, and then I would use the money to buy the film Osama.

When I got to the square, I saw about 300 people waiting to have someone take them to work. Whenever a car arrived, the workers crowded in as everyone was trying to get work. I also joined these workers and ran to every car that came along, saying loudly, “Do you need a worker, uncle? I will take less pay than the others.”

Several cars came and took with them those who looked big and strong. I was worried that no one might ever use me because I looked weak. After five hours of waiting, a Corolla came. All of the workers ran towards it. A handsome man got out of the car and stared at everyone. His eyes met mine. He approached me and said, “Are you a worker?” I said, in a trembling voice, “Yes.” He said, “Get in the car.” We drove to the wealthy area of Khair Khana, and when we arrived at his luxurious and modern house, he guided me inside. As is tradition, he offered me bread, and as opposed to the poor-quality government bread I was used to at university, this was fresh Paraki Naan, the exact kind my mother would make. It reminded me of her and how much I missed her. As I did not have the bus fare to go back to my village, I had not seen my mother for seven months.

The man suddenly and loudly said to his young children, “Come, Nilab, Susan, and Muhammad.” His children came.

I looked at the man and said, “Sir, can you guide me as to what I should do?” The man stared at me for a bit and then said, “Stand up.” I stood. The man turned to his children and said, “Look carefully. This boy is very young and handsome, but, if you do not study, your destiny will be like his.”

Yes! I was a symbol of laziness and illiteracy for his children.

I felt my throat squeeze with sadness, and I could not hold back my tears. I cried. His wife came to me and raised my head and said, “Do not cry, dear. If you studied, you would not live like this now. You could become an engineer or doctor.”

When I felt the motherly care of that woman, I remembered my own mother, who always said proudly to everyone that would listen, “My dear son Habib, from the first grade until now, always got the first position in school.

In the midst of crying and sobbing, I said, “I got the first ranking in school, and now I am also the first in my class at university.”

They were so ashamed to hear this that they gave me 300 Afghani on the spot, which is one day’s wage for a worker. I said, “I did not do anything. I do not deserve a wage.” But the man hugged me and gave me the money anyway.

I left his house with a strong feeling of relief, and the next day went to the DVD store and bought the film Osama.

Throughout my education, I studied with excruciating difficulties, and I got a good result. I taught as a professor at Kabul University, faculty of Fine Arts for 11 years, and with great effort I collected a collection of DVDs for 15 years, which I used in my teaching and research at Kabul University.

When the Taliban came to Kabul in August 2021, and I quickly burned all the documents I had. I set fire to my literary and artistic documents, and my DVD collection. It may seem silly, but when you feel death close by, you are forced to destroy even your identity. My life is a story of people who lost their identities under the boots of religious fascism.

Bio: Habibullah Sorosh is a professor, screenwriter and playwright whose research includes the history of Afghan cinema, the structural effects of absurdist dramas, and Kazakh historical genre films. Born in the Jaghori district, Ghazni province of Afghanistan Habib received his Bachelor of Cinema and Theater from the Department of Fine Arts at Kabul University and Master of Art Criticism at Kazakh National Academy of Arts T. Zhurgenov. For the past ten years, Habib has been a professor at Kabul University in the Department of Fine Arts and Dramatic Literature. He is currently a Visiting Researcher in the Schools of Drama and Art at Carnegie Mellon University where he is researching the fields of theatre, cinema, and art theory.

Habib Sorosh received a scholarship to study English with the English Language Program at Chatham University in Summer 2022. Below is a picture of him and Dr. Linh Phung, Director of the ELP, during a class outing.