University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Staff Short Term Programs
Following is information for Stacy Billman, Short Term Programs:
Bachelor of Science in Communication, Stephens College, Columbia, MOIndependent Study Abroad, University of Leeds, England (2004-2005)After getting my Associate's degree at Parkland College, I had my mind made up that I wanted to directly enroll in a University overseas to get my Bachelor's. At the time, I thought I wanted to pursue fashion as a career and knew I needed to do something pretty significant to give myself a competitive edge in that industry. It turned out that it wasn't what I studied that made a huge impact on me, but the international experience itself. My time in Leeds, England helped me put a lot of things into perspective that perhaps would've taken me longer if I had stayed at home. Following the year abroad, I returned to finish my studies back home and decided to change the focus to communication while preparing for a career with an international dimension.I fully joined the Study Abroad team as a Coordinator for Short-Term Programs in July 2009. As part of the training for my new position, I accompanied a faculty-led program to Urubamba, Peru during winter break 2009. Urubamba is a small community nestled in the Andes Mountains. The course focus was to study how the development issues of health, education, women's rights and financing play out at the local level. Through service-learning projects - making ceramic water filters and installing cleaner burning stoves - students explored how theories of international development may or may not work in practice while experiencing cultural immersion in a Peruvian village. I took part in both projects and stayed with a Spanish speaking family. With my limited knowledge of Spanish and my host family's limited knowledge of English you would be surprised at how much we were still able to learn about each other!