RIO GRANDE — Rio Grande student Cydnie Few was awarded the Lloyd Family Scholarship in the amount of $1,000 through the National Welsh-American Foundation.
She was also awarded the Welsh Exchange Travel Scholarship in the amount of $500 from the Welsh Society of Central Ohio and a $500 travel scholarship from the Welsh Society of Greater Cincinnati.
The scholarships will help offset the expense of spending most of the fall semester in Wales as part of an exchange program between the University of Rio Grande and Rio Grande Community College and the University of Wales, Trinity Saint David, in Carmarthen, South Wales.
Few is the first Rio Grande student to receive the Lloyd Family Scholarship.
Established in 2002, the exchange program has seen 55 Rio Grande students experience a semester abroad in Wales, while 37 Trinity students have been hosted on the Rio Grande campus during that time. Through the exchange program, students earn credit toward their degree programs while having what may very well be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for immersion in another culture.
Few, a junior early education major from Cincinnati, plans to document her travels and experiences in the form of a 15- to 20-minute video that will be available via a YouTube channel following her return. Ultimately she wishes to create an informative channel that will address questions or concerns others may have regarding study abroad.
While the focus will be on living in Wales, Few plans to include aspects about travel, schooling, transportation, cultural differences, currency differences and lifestyle in general. She plans to incorporate students, teachers and the people of Wales as an important part of this work, with an end goal of communicating to viewers the importance of understanding a culture different from their own, while basing that understanding on informed, unbiased opinions rather than on conjecture.
As a future teacher, Few sees this as a project that can not only be utilized by Rio Grande’s Madog Center for Welsh Studies for the purpose of recruitment, but also as a wonderful teaching tool for future classrooms in which she will teach.
“I could provide people with a lasting impact on their world views by sharing my experience in Wales,” Few said. “I plan to develop long-lasting friendships while studying abroad. My goal is to connect with those in my school realm, as well as those who I may only encounter through my YouTube project.”
Few said she anticipates her experience will allow her to assist the Foundation in gaining information regarding the international experience, as well as allow her the opportunity to provide strong cross-cultural communications with people she befriends.
A former student of the School for Creative and Performing Arts in Cincinnati, Few plans to earn her degree in early education and intervention specialist at Rio Grande — following in the footsteps of her grandmother, who was a teacher and who earned her degree from Rio Grande — and to eventually earn a doctorate degree in education with an administration license. This future third-generation teacher credits her grandmother’s influence in her decision to attend Rio Grande and plans to pursue a teaching career at a creative arts school, where she can share her passion for the performing arts with students.
She sees the time she will spend in Wales as a valuable experience she will be able to share with future students, studying not only Welsh plays, playwrights and actors, such as George Emlyn Williams, but also Welsh-based movies such as “How Green Was My Valley,” directed by John Ford.
Few’s upcoming project, which began with thoughts of creating a blog, took a completely different turn when Few’s mother, also a teacher, encouraged her to take it further, incorporating video and applying to go to Wales. “A lot of people probably don’t travel,” said Few, who went on to note the importance of scholarships, as well as applying for such opportunities. “There are so many other people and opportunities,” she said.
Few, who has not yet traveled internationally, is now, thanks to scholarships and encouragement from family as well as faculty, headed overseas for the first time.
“I wish I could leave tomorrow,” said Few, who will depart Sept. 13. “I’m counting down every day.”
Few is active on the Rio Grande campus, serving as a member of the student senate and as a movie reviewer for the student newspaper, Signals. She is active in the Alpha Lambda Delta Honor Society.
Few is also a member of Enactus, an award-winning business management program that conducts a variety of projects on campus ranging from Rio Rack Shack — a food donation program that assists students in need — to conducting summer programs that bring K–12 students from Gallia, Jackson, Lawrence, Meigs and Vinton counties to participate in community service projects and to work with area businesses in a week-long learning intensive environment.
Few is a also member of Alpha Mu Beta, a social sorority founded on the principles of academic excellence, leadership development, civic engagement, sisterhood and the development of personal spirituality.
NWAF is a nonprofit membership organization with volunteer officers and directors in North America and Wales. It was formed to provide a link between Wales and North Americans who share a common interest in Welsh culture, heritage and preservation of the language. The foundation provides financial assistance, fellowships and study grants and coordinates selected cultural and educational activities of Welsh-Americans. The organization encourages the exchange of artists and scholars between Wales and North America and supports Welsh-American groups in their relations with corporate, philanthropic and governmental organizations in North America and in Wales.
The Welsh Society of Central Ohio, established in 1948 as The Columbus Welsh Singing Society, fosters the appreciation and preservation of Welsh heritage and traditions and promotes the literature, poetry, music and the arts of Wales for the benefit and education of members of the general public. Their Welsh Exchange Travel Scholarship, established in 2013, awards $500 to a students participating in the University of Rio Grande’s Welsh Study Abroad Program through the Madog Center. Awardees write an article for the WSCO newsletter, Dragon Tales, following their return from Wales.
The Welsh Society of Greater Cincinnati is a membership organization seeking to promote and preserve the Welsh heritage in Butler County, Ohio. Their travel scholarship was established in 2012 and is awarded to a student(s) participating in the Welsh Travel Abroad Program through the University of Rio Grande’s Madog Center. An award of $500 is given to a student(s) each fall and the student(s) present a talk at a spring meeting of the WSGC.
For more information about Rio Grande’s Madog Center for Welsh Studies, visit www.rio.edu/madog .