Lebanese student studying agribusiness at UW-Platteville

November 15, 2013

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Jinane Abou Zeki

PLATTEVILLE, Wis.­­­ — The Elizabeth Summers International Fellowship Fund is offered through the Education Abroad Office at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville.

Summers’ parents emigrated to Southwest Wisconsin from Lebanon. Two of her siblings attended the Wisconsin Institute of Technology, which later became UW-Platteville. Summers saw the opportunity to create a program that exposed students to different cultures. She generously left funds from her estate to establish the exchange program at UW-Platteville.

“We are thrilled to offer this opportunity,” said Donna Anderson, director of UW-Platteville International Programs. This semester, 23 exchange students are on campus at UW-Platteville, while 20 students from UW-Platteville are studying abroad. Six of those students are on exchange programs. “Exchange programs differ from other education abroad programs because they require students to be fully integrated into the student population at a foreign university. Independent students thrive in exchange programs.”

Jinane Abou Zeki is the first recipient of the Elizabeth Summers International Fellowship. She is a 20-year-old student majoring in agribusiness at the American University of Beirut, where she will graduate in the spring. “Agribusiness is a really interesting major, I love it,” said Abou Zeki. This semester, Abou Zeki is continuing her agribusiness program here at UW-Platteville.

“I had always had the idea of going abroad and this opportunity came up,” said Abou Zeki. “I applied and was selected to come here to UW-Platteville. This is a great opportunity for me. It was a big change coming here. In Beirut, I am a student on a big campus. Here at UW-Platteville, the campus is smaller with more nature on campus and the people are more approachable. I am also a part of the International Student Club here on campus. The club has allowed me to connect with other students from abroad.”

“The agriculture sector in Lebanon has a high potential for growth but this growth is constantly impeded by the chaos that overwhelms the country,” said Abou Zeki. “There is more technology and research in American agriculture. Here at UW-Platteville, we have a more hands-on view of agriculture than my courses in Lebanon. This experience will be valuable to me when I return home.”

The exchange program established by the Elizabeth Summers International Fellowship Fund allows for a student from UW-Platteville to attend the American University of Beirut in Lebanon while a Lebanese student is able to attend UW-Platteville.  Due to the current U.S. Department of State Travel Warning for Lebanon, only incoming exchange students are being accepted at this time.

Written by: Ethan Giebel, UW-Platteville University Information and Communications, (608) 342-1194, giebele@uwplatt.edu

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