On behalf of the Vira I Heinz Scholarship Program for Women in Global Leadership and the Tafel Scholarship, Lindsey Bandison was able to spend 8-weeks in a summer Business and Culture program in Buenos Aires, Argentina. In the capital city, Lindsey took two business courses, two culture classes and a communicative Spanish language course through CIEE at the Facultad Latinoamericano de Ciencias Sociales. Through her International Finance and Public Policy class, she was able to learn about Argentina’s national debt crisis in 2001, and how it has affected the nation’s stability in terms of political, social and economic unrest. Protests and political movement marches are a common sight to behold in Buenos Aires, something Lindsey got to experience both in person and while watching the news with her host mom and sister. Her Business and Local Consumer Culture class allowed her to observe through experiential learning the way businesses operate in a local context, compared to that of the United States and neighboring countries. She also was able to observe the cultural differences among Latin American countries through her program’s Intercultural Experience Weekends where they traveled to Santiago de Chile and Montevideo. Her culture and language classes prepared her for immersion into the local Argentine culture, through specific mannerisms and colloquialisms specific to Buenos Aires. She was also able to give a full 15 minute presentation in Spanish to a class of her peers on communication styles in Buenos Aires, using what she has learned from inside and out of the class room. Bi-weekly she participated in a local volunteer project in Barrio Mitre, one of the poorer neighborhoods in the city where she volunteered at a local community center. At the local community center she helped to create a garden, to grow vegetables and seasonings so that the local women’s bakery could harvest and sustain their own produce. Lindsey spent her two months living with her host mom and 7-year old host sister in Buenos Aires, where she was able to help her host sister with her English homework and spend a lot of time speaking Spanish with her extended host family. In her free time she visited the local art museums and craft markets, tried new foods, and explored the city with her Argentine friends as tour guides. Living in Buenos Aires, Argentina gave Lindsey the opportunity of a lifetime to immerse herself in the culture of another country, to build upon her language skills, and to form relationships that will surely last a lifetime. Her next goal is to find an opportunity that allows her to return to South America to work for an extended period of time after graduation.
#StopTheShade is a Community Engagement Experience (CEE) developed and implemented by 5 of the 2016 Cohort members of the Vira I Heinz Scholarship Program for Women in Global Leadership. As students of the University of Pittsburgh, each of the cohort members were given the opportunity to study abroad in different areas of the world. In their international experiences they came across the global issue of colorism and its impact all over the world. For their CEE experience, the five young women presented through a series of video clips and discussion, the impacts of colorism- the bias towards those of lighter complexions, and how it affects our community locally as well as globally. The intentions of the event were to highlight the importance of colorism as a global issue, through exploring what colorism truly is, where it originates from historically, its presence in many different societies and cultures, and lastly what impacts we as a community can make to overcome and find solutions towards ending the stigma towards those with darker complexions being of less value in juxtaposition with those with lighter more “highly valued” complexions. Through the use of short video clips in combination with round-table discussions the cohort members from the University of Pittsburgh were able to spark insightful conversations, on how our community can come together to resolve and overcome this issue.