Sophia McCann Headed to Wales Through the Fulbright UK Summer Institutes

By Logan Jackson

Published on June 6, 2024

Since she was young, Sophia McCann has dreamed about traveling abroad. The Fulbright UK Summer Institutes is going to allow McCann to fulfill that dream.

McCann, a sophomore geography major (physical/environmental emphasis area), will spend three weeks at Aberystwyth University, located in Wales.

Sophia McCann
Sophia McCann

“I was so excited to receive the Fulbright UK Summer Institutes award,” said McCann, who is also pursuing the Honors Certificate at MU. “I immediately started calling my friends and family after finding out so I could share the good news. I couldn’t be more grateful to the team over at Fulbright for choosing me for this incredible opportunity.”

The Fulbright UK Summer Institutes provide undergraduate students from the United States with little or no travel experience outside of North America the opportunity to explore the culture, heritage and history of the UK while experiencing higher education at a UK university.

The program is made possible through donations from private individuals and through a Study Abroad Engagement Grant from USA Study Abroad within the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and the U.S. Department of State, as well as a partnership with some of the top UK institutions, such as Aberystwyth, Queen’s University Belfast, the University of Bristol and the University of the Exeter.

“I’ve never been abroad before, despite it being a lifelong dream of mine, which is why I’m so thrilled to have earned this award,” McCann said. “I can’t say I’ll know what studying in a different country will be like until I’ve done it, but I know I will put my all into learning everything I can from the experience. It will be incredible to meet so many new people with such a broad range of perspectives.”

McCann will learn more about the unique identity of Wales and how that identity translates onto a political, economic and social stage. She said the program is extremely interdisciplinary, and she will have the opportunity to work with professors from many different departments within Aberystwyth University.

“It will be incredible,” McCann said. “There really is no true replacement for what you can learn by traveling abroad and pushing yourself out of your comfort zone. I’m particularly excited that I will get to interact with the community in Wales from both the local and national levels. We will be doing a service-learning project with AberFood, a local non-profit working to reduce food waste. We will also have the privilege of vising the Welsh Assembly in Cardiff.”

McCann worked closely with the MU Office of Global and National Fellowships throughout the application process.

“The application encouraged students to consider not only what impact this program would have on themselves, but how they could spread that impact to help others once they are back in the U.S.,” McCann said. “The best way I was able to discuss this in my application was through my career goal of becoming an urban planner. I want to become an urban planner so that I can help communities be better supported and represented by their environments. To do this successfully, I know I will need to have an in-depth understanding of identity and the many ways in which it is influenced and strengthened. This is why I believe this opportunity will be so relevant to me.”