In May, 11 UAFS students had the educational experience of a lifetime during an International Studies Maymester course in Bulgaria, under the guidance of Dr. Svetla Dimitrova, assistant professor of sociology at UAFS. The students focused their studies on sustainable development through the course offered by the Myles Friedman Honors Program.
The group visited 11 cities and villages, touring UNESCO World Heritage sites and protected areas and meeting with government officials, environmental and public health organizations, and business leaders to learn about how they are working toward achieving the United Nations Global Sustainable Development Goals.
The group visited places as diverse as the Black Sea Coast, the Strandja Nature Park, and Plovdiv, one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in Europe. In Strandja Nature Park, the students stayed in small guesthouses and learned about the challenges of balancing biodiversity conservation and the preservation of economic livelihoods.
“Bulgaria has shown me the importance of preserving your culture, investing in local producers, reducing your impact on the environment, appreciating nature and so much more,” said Nicole Phillips, a junior business administration major from Houston. “I now see that, even though I am only one person, my actions can make a difference.”
Students on the trip represented the College of Business; the College of Health Sciences; the College of Communication, Languages, Arts, and Social Sciences; and the College of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. Also accompanying the group was Dr. Tyler Fox, a postdoctoral research fellow in the Biological Sciences Department at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville.