Posted on June 30, 2012 by Tia Lalani

First-year GDS student Connor Malone will study at Yonsei University in Seoul next year, thanks to a prestigious U of A award.

Global & Development Studies student Connor Malone won’t be attending his second-year classes on Augustana Campus in September. The 19-year-old was awarded the University of Alberta’s prestigious Sandy Mactaggart Award, and he decided to enrol in South Korea’s Yonsei University in Seoul.

“Yonsei has an excellent international relations program,” says Connor. “It’s one of the top political studies programs in Asia. Its alumni include former South Korean presidents, education and finance ministers, plus a Chair of the UN General Assembly!”

The Sandy Mactaggart Award is given to undergraduate students to assist them in undertaking study abroad for one year in Asia as part of a University of Alberta degree. Up to $20,000 is available for tuition, expenses and flights for a student who can demonstrate the ability to benefit from pursuing academic studies in Asia, show an interest in learning more about Asian peoples and cultures, and show an interest in fostering international understanding.

“I had to write a long essay about what I bring to studying abroad and what I hope to gain from the experience,” Connor explains. “It’s also tied to previous volunteer work and international travel.”

Connor has traveled internationally several times, and has pursued a number of volunteer and leadership opportunities. However, he credits his Rotary Youth Exchange Scholarship experience in Grade 11 for helping win him the Sandy Mactaggart Award, which is rarely granted to a first-year student.

“I studied for a year in Chiang Mai, Thailand,” says Connor. “It was absolutely amazing. It changed my life and I’m sure my experience in Korea will do the same.”

The Seoul area is the world’s second-largest metropolitan area, with over 25 million inhabitants. It will be a big change for the Camrose student, who leaves for Asia on August 21. “The language of instruction is English,” Connor says with relief, “but I’m expected – and happy – to take six credits of Korean while I’m there.”

Connor would like to thank his professor, Shauna Wilton, as well as the Camrose Rotary Club and his other references, Pauline Perot and Lisa Grotowski. The award was created to honor Sandy Mactaggart for his many contributions to the University of Alberta: he spent ten years on the Board of Governors, four years as Chancellor and Chair of the Senate, and six months as Interim Chair of the Board.

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