Julia Rose is back from an unforgettable four months in South Carolina.
The fourth year psychology student and resident of Portugal Cove-St. Philip’s is Memorial University’s latest Killam Fellowship recipient. The scholarship program allows exceptional undergraduate students to participate in a bi-national academic exchange between Canada and the United States.
Ms. Rose received a cash award of USD$5,000 and a $750 allowance to offset health insurance costs while spending a semester in the U.S.
Her cross-border adventure began at Clemson University in late August. While there, she learned first-hand about American university and southern subcultures – everything from sororities to college football.
“Football was huge there!” said Ms. Rose. “It was an all-encompassing ‘Go Tigers!’ mentality, and it gave everyone a common identity. I went to a few games and I’ve never seen anything like that in my life. There were thousands of people just screaming for their team. It was amazing to witness.”
She was even invited home for an American Thanksgiving dinner with her roommate’s family.
While she found the college town more conservative than her own hometown, most people she met were interested in hearing about her Canadian perspectives and asked for her view on topics such as health care. They were typically respectful even if their own opinions differed, she says.
“One thing I did discover by leaving my home country was how much I still had to learn about it. People would ask me different questions about Canada, like how our governing system compared to theirs, and I realized that I couldn’t say for certain. But now that I’m aware of my knowledge gap, I’m working to close it!”
One of her favourite experiences was joining an on-campus group called You’re Not Alone.
“I thought it was going to be a mental health advocacy group, but it was more than that. In our meetings, we would talk about what was bothering us or how we were handling stress or being away from home for the first time,” Ms. Rose said. “Everyone listened and supported each other, and I’d love to bring something like that to Memorial, because I found it very helpful to me.”
In September she travelled to Ottawa for a fall orientation session where she met the other Canadian and American Killam fellows, along with the American Fulbright students and scholars who are studying and conducting research in Canada this year. This spring she will meet up with everyone once again for a seminar in Washington, D.C.
She says she’s found a strong connection between Killam alumni and those who are new to the program or who are thinking about joining. She received support from Memorial’s last Killam fellow, Lauren Winsor, during her application process and, prior to leaving for Clemson, she was contacted by the previous Canadian student who did her fellowship at the university.
“She found me on Facebook and messaged me,” said Ms. Rose. “She said if I had any questions she’d be happy to talk about her time there. That was a really kind gesture.”
Now Ms. Rose is looking forward to passing on her own experiences to the next generation of Killam fellows.
“I went for it and look how that turned out.”
The Killam opportunity has encouraged her to push her own boundaries and she’s now considering applying to Memorial’s accredited PsyD program for graduate studies.
“I don’t want to get my hopes up, but I learned that it certainly can’t hurt to apply,” she said. “I wasn’t going to try for the Killam Fellowship at first, because when I looked at the past winners, I thought they were much more qualified than I could ever be. But I went for it and look how that turned out.”
Ms. Rose encourages all bachelor of science and bachelor of arts students to check out the application for the 2019-20 academic year, which is now available on the Killam Fellowship website.