Study Abroad Photo Contest 2024

Thank you to all the students who submitted pictures for WORLD’s 2024 Study Abroad Photo Contest! WORLD staff deliberated and narrowed the choices down to our top 10 finalists. Now we need your help to determine the winner!

Please take a look at the photos below and then cast your vote for your favorite three photos by noon on Friday, April 19!

Enchanted Red in the Wind by Anuket Goins (Kyoto, Japan)

Venice Walking Pathways by Audrey Best (Venice, Italy)

The Hills are Alive by Caley Petersen (Innsbruck, Austria)

Castelvecchio Fortress by Alexandria Metivier (Verona, Italy)

Shinjuku Night by Abigail Edwards (Tokyo, Japan)

Cambridge, United Kingdom by Emily Basdeo (Cambridge, UK)

Saraguro Beauty by Jazlyn Gregory (Saraguro, Ecuador)

Vibrant Venetian Canal by Laura Cheshire (Venice, Italy)

Kiyomizu-Dera Temple by Mallory Holland (Kyoto, Japan)

The Kelpies by Meghan Steward (Grangemouth, Scotland)

Please remember to cast your vote for your favorite three photos by noon on Friday, April 19!

Rinker Global Scholars Program: Madness in Venice

-Written by: Heather Fontaine; Adapted from StetsonToday

During Spring Break in March, 16 Stetson students traveled to Italy for nine days, led by their two course professors, as part of the Rinker Global Scholars Program. All of the students were selected for the study abroad opportunity and given a generous scholarship from Drs. David and Leighan Rinker, which significantly subsidized the program’s cost.

The 2024 Rinker Global Scholars explore Venice as part of their class on mental health reforms in Italy

The new course, Madness in Venice, explores how the conceptualization of mental illness has changed across time –— developed and co-taught by Michael Eskenazi, PhD, associate professor of Psychology, and Melinda Hall, PhD, associate professor of Philosophy and interim associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.

“No matter the student’s major, they understand the importance of mental health,” Eskenazi said. “Given the recent trends in college student mental health, this course topic was a timely and worthwhile investment for the Rinker Global Scholars Program.”

On campus during the semester, the students learned about the different approaches that philosophers and psychologists use in understanding history and human behavior, specifically honing in on the history of mental illness treatments over time in Venice. Once abroad, the experiential learning journey started with a short ferry ride to the San Servolo Insane Asylum, where the students were able to understand how people with mental illness were treated before the passage of the Basaglia Law in 1978, which led to more ethical mental health treatment and practices.

The now-museum was full of instruments, equipment and imagery of patients who were held at the asylum. While an eerie energy filled the spaces of this once leading-edge psychiatric hospital, a sense of peace was felt knowing legislative changes had influenced not only better care for people with mental illnesses, but increased awareness of disability justice activism, having a positive ripple effect across the globe.

“Coming out of Venice now, our class is a lot closer, and were able to talk about these issues in a much more important and personal way than we had before,” commented Laura Cheshire, a senior Art Therapy major.

In addition to exploring other clinically relevant locations that coincided with their classroom studies, students enjoyed St. Mark’s Square, including famous landmarks such as St. Mark’s Basilica, Doge’s Palace and the Grand Canal, where continually operating gondola tours begin and end. 

Students explore Piazza San Marco in Venice

Venturing out of Venice to visit Verona, Bologna, and the islands of Murano and Burano, adjacent to the Venetian Lagoon, the group witnessed a private glass-blowing demonstration. Also, they toured a town sprinkled with small brightly painted houses owned by locals who have mastered the craft of lacemaking for hundreds of generations. 

“The excursions allowed students to acquaint themselves with the harmonious aspects of Italy,” Hall noted. “I hope to call students to wonder about our obligations to others and to ourselves, the social structures and systems which impact the ways we understand each other and our own subjectivity, and who belongs in our moral communities and why.” 

Eskenazi believes that as Stetson’s new Strategic Priorities outline the importance of people, culture and inclusive excellence, this study abroad course taught students the power of global citizenship by showing them the implications and improvements one country can have on the world.

“I have seen immense personal and academic transformation in students as they open their minds to new experiences, interact with people from different cultures, and learn how historical events in foreign countries are directly related to their studies and lives today,” Eskenazi concluded.

You can view a short video of the students’ experience on YouTube.

Note: You can learn more about the Rinker Global Scholars Program on WORLD’s website. The 2025 program will take place in Venice again and will focus on Music and Art through History.


by: Damaria Y Ramierz-Espinal

On February 2nd while students were in their daily routine with either classes or other matters, at WORLD we were preparing for a wonderful event that morning. The WORLD Fair was in full swing with the festivities and excitement from the children from an elementary school visiting our campus.

Nearly 80 3rd and 4th graders had the opportunity to learn about multiple countries and cultures from around the world. In total, Stetson students presented 15 tables with each one highlighting a different country or continent. The children had a fantastic time at the fair with a range of games, food, activities, and fun facts for them to explore.  Everyone one who tabled also had a great time interacting with the children as they were able to share a piece of new cultures and home with them. The WORLD Fair was a great success with everyone having a blast during the event!

Children learning about Ghana and Nigeria, and the continent of Africa. They even got to try on traditional clothes
Our FLTA Scholar showing children how to write their names in Egyptian letters
A Spanish children’s running game – the first one to grab the Spanish flag wins
Norwegian children’s game “Spijkerpoepen”
Students wrote down what they learned from our Stetson students

International Student Orientation, Spring 2024

By: Anne Walcher

As the sun dawned on this Tuesday morning, the campus of Stetson University was quiet and calm. Only a few students stayed on campus over the winter break. But the WORLD Office with all its ambassadors buzzed with excitement and anticipation. It was the start of International Student Orientation Days, a time for WORLD to welcome new students from all over the world. The welcoming committee gathered in U-hall, ready to extend a warm Stetson welcome to the arriving students and ready to help move them into their new home.

The official kick-off took place Wednesday. The day started early (no worries, we had plenty of coffee) with a jam-packed schedule at the Lynn Business Center. WORLD aimed to provide our new internationals with essential knowledge from Immigration Basics, Handling the Logistics, Student Health Insurance to Living on Campus and Working on Campus. However, it wasn`t all business- after a fun campus-wide scavenger hunt we had a delightful lunch from Moe`s, fueling students for the remaining activities. In the afternoon, the group embarked on a trip to Walmart for some essential shopping. The day ended with a cozy Pizza dinner at WORLD, providing the perfect setting for students to unwind and share stories.

The second day started a little bit later but there was no shortage of enriching activities. Presentations about Academic Culture in America and a following Mock Class were combined with Campus tours, showcasing the main buildings and key locations on campus.  A break and lunch from Publix offered moments of relaxation and sustenance for the last presentations of International Student Orientation. Finally, the group gathered for a picture in front of the iconic fountain- a symbol for unity and shared experiences.

Reflecting on these days of orientation, it was a blend of many feelings. We had stressful moments trying to find one student’s luggage, funny moments laughing about stories students shared with us and sometimes even sentimental moments because these days reminded us how we felt when we arrived at Stetson. Friendships were made, and the shared experiences created a strong sense of community.

The New International Student orientation days were not just an introduction; they were the first chapter in a story of cross-cultural connections, personal growth, and the pursuit of knowledge on our vibrant campus of Stetson University.

Welcome to all our new international students!

Nigerian Culture Hour

WORLD Ambassadors worked with the African Student Union and the International Student Organization to host Nigerian Culture Hour at WORLD on Friday, December 1 at 5pm. More than 30 students were in attendance to learn some fun facts about Nigeria, playing a Mentee game, and enjoying real Nigerian food prepared by Deltona caterer Forks & Fingers Nigerian Cuisine.

Nigerian food tasting as created by Forks and Fingers Nigerian Cuisine in Deltona, FL.
Students challenged one another to fun facts about Nigeria.
Members of ASU and ISO participated in the mentee presentation.

International Education Week

The celebration of International Education Week (November 13 – 17, 2023) is a reminder that tough conversations must take place as part of the ceremony of cultural diversity. While fun events are a necessary part of the excitement surrounding the culture of a college education, it is equally important to remember this is also a time for intellectual growth. We can do two things at the same time.

The week incorporated an opening “red carpet” event with music and refreshments, a cultural fest where students shared their favorite moments in other countries, and an ending event where students sang some of their favorite songs and shared pizza. Some of the conversations included understanding cultural differences through the eyes of First-Generation Americans, discovering the history of the Israel-Hamas War, and understanding the Ukraine and Russia war through a new educational platform.

Extra special thank yous to the WORLD Team including the Ambassadors (Yahia Alda, Aaryanna Kania, Noureen Saeed, Isabella Sanco Keis, Naya Adla, Nour Amri, Faith Bosana, Anuket Goins, , Kaci Kruglewicz, Mingzhe Ma, Zaikeria Patha, and Jackson Huxtable), Liz Lew, and Paula Hentz for arranging these presentations. Students learned a lot AND had a lot of fun.

Students learn both a song and a dance at WORLD Karaoke, led by Isabelle Sanco Keis and Jackson Huxtable.
Students present some of their favorite things from either their home countries or the countries to which they traveled. Seen in the picture is Aaryanna Kania discussing South Korea. The program was led by Mingzhe (Melody) Ma and Temitayo Wale-Obafaiye
Professors lead the conversation about the history that has led up to the war between Israel and Hamas. Panelists, pictured here, are: Dr. Eric Kurlander, Dr. Margaret Venzke, and Dr. Sam Houston. Not pictured: Rev. Todd Campbell.

The Joy of Thanksgiving

Stetson trustees, faculty and staff hosted 22 international students for this very American holiday!

Every year WORLD asks the Stetson community to host our international students for a traditional Thanksgiving meal. This year, 6 people signed up and hosted 22 students!

The students really enjoyed themselves as well as the hosts. A few comments the hosts shared with us were “I didn’t think I was going to have this much fun tonight!”  and “Family gatherings are important to me.  This is the first time I have felt this comfortable and good since arriving to Stetson this year.”

We are so grateful to our hosts who took the time to show our students what Thanksgiving means. The time spent together was special, and we are sure the parents of these students were grateful knowing their children were in a warm, welcoming environment!

Study Abroad and International Student Film and Photo Contest Winners!

WORLD was so happy to sponsor the photo and video contest for students who studied abroad – whether coming to DeLand for a semester or more for an exchange program or heading out to another global location. The voting was close, but almost 150 votes cast, the winners are:

Study Abroad photo contest winner: Aaryanna Kania, Cherry Blossoms in Seoul (South Korea)
Study Abroad film contest winner: Emily McMahon, English Historical Landscapes & Innsbruck (Scotland, England, and Austria)

Study Abroad photo contest winner, Aaryanna Kania

International Student photo contest winner: Ayoub Sendhaji, Soccer Game
International Student film contest winner: Anh Trinh, DeLand Christmas Parade

Each contest winner will receive an Amazon gift card, and each entrant may see their artwork in materials used to promote their location of choice during the next academic year. Congratulations to all participants of the contest.

Study Abroad Film Contest 2023

Thank you to everyone who submitted a short video/film for the 2023 Study Abroad Film Contest! We loved reviewing the submissions and have narrowed it down to our two favorites. Please take a look at them using the links below and vote for your favorite by May 1, 2023!

Summer in Ecuador (Summer 2022 language and culture program in Cuenca, Ecuador)

European Origins of Psychology (Summer 2022 psychology program in Germany and Austria)

English Historical Landscapes and Innsbruck Program (Summer 2022 history program in Scotland and England and the Summer 2022 Innsbruck, Austria program)