IGS Honors Krystyna Musik and Khalil Masmoudi for their Innovative Work as Study Abroad Directors
On Dec. 16, 2015 UDaily published a story on fellow Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures faculty members, Krystyna Musik and Khalil Masmoudi to highlight their innovative new study abroad programs.
The article can be found below:
2:05 p.m., Dec. 16, 2015–The University of Delaware Institute for Global Studies (IGS) annually honors a study abroad faculty director who goes above and beyond in creating and implementing innovative and transformative programs for UD students.
This year, two faculty members from the Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures (DLLC), Krystyna Musik and Khalil Masmoudi, were chosen for recognition.
Musik, an instructor of Spanish, directed her first study abroad program at UD 20 years ago. Since, she has directed programs annually in locations including Costa Rica, Mexico, Argentina, Spain, Ecuador and Chile.
“This is a most deserved award, recognizing many years of commitment to students and to her department’s mission,” said Lisa Chieffo, associate director for study abroad.
Having moved to the United States from Buenos Aires, Argentina, when she was 16 years old, Musik mastered her English communication skills only after being placed in an American high school.
“My brother and I took one English class during the summer and in September we went to school,” she said. “I guess I don’t know how we learned, but one day we started speaking.”
It is perhaps this personal experience that has driven Musik’s passion for creating global language immersion opportunities for her students.
“She was very adamant that we each go out on our own and speak and learn,” said one student of their experience during Winter Session 2015 in Chile. “She ensured that everyone had to step outside of their comfort zone and adapt to the challenges we might face.”
While Musik encourages her students to seek an independent experience, students also noticed that she “at the same time was there for us when we needed her. She struck a good balance.”
Musik continues to lead study abroad programs because, according to her, they are both personally and professionally rewarding.
“It works wonders I would say. In almost every program I have directed, 25-27 students participated who did not know each other and all of a sudden they become one big family. It is very rewarding as a director to see how, in a short period of time, students gain independence, learn and start to compare and seek answers, and want to know more.”
Masmoudi, an instructor of Arabic, directed the DLLC program to Morocco for the first time just last year. For designing what students consider a “defining time in their four-year experience at UD,” Masmoudi was recognized with an honorable mention for this year’s award.
“By electing to do a program as far out of the ordinary as Morocco, Khalil accepted a unique challenge. Taking over 20 students, many of whom had no background in studying Arabic or even French, across the world, Khalil showed us how much we all have in common as citizens of the world,” wrote a student.
Students also noted Masmoudi’s extraordinary ability to lead the group through difficult situations. “On our way to Marrakesh, a snowstorm hit the Atlas Mountains, causing us to take a detour,” commented a student. “We drove for almost 15 hours, but Khalil used his Moroccan connections to choose a safe route, and we ended up in Marrakesh safely and comfortably.”
Masmoudi also directed the University’s first study abroad program to Tunisia in 2008.
While the directors’ programs took place on opposite ends of the world, each, above all, was recognized for their commitment to creating an authentic cultural experience for students.
Musik provides a special experience to all students who have traveled abroad with her. By choosing host families carefully, her students are exposed to the traditional life of the culture in which they immersed. “Students live with families who are much different than they are. They learn different aspects of life,” she said.
Musik prudently organizes excursions to culturally significant locations where students learn about many different aspects of the country in which they are studying. By visiting homes of famous Nobel Prize-winning authors, art museums, historical locations and even small indigenous villages, students experience more than just family life and language learning.
To Masmoudi, developing a genuine understanding of Moroccan culture and people is a hallmark goal of that program. “We don’t know much about the Arab world. The program really helps a lot for understanding, for building bridges, for connecting the people, and being more accurate and appreciative,” he said.
Awardees are student nominated and reviewed by a panel. Musik’s name will appear on a plaque in Elliott Hall, where the IGS offices for study abroad are located.
About the Institute for Global Studies
The Institute for Global Studies was created in 2009 to enhance the international dimensions of teaching, research and outreach at the University of Delaware. IGS provides leadership and support for programs and experiences that contribute to the education of informed, skilled, open-minded citizens of the world.
Best known for coordinating the University’s study abroad program, IGS also awards scholarships and grants to faculty and students for a number of global opportunities, and administers internationally-recognized State Department-sponsored programs such as theUD Fulbright Initiative, Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI) Student Leaders Institute, Mandela Washington Fellowship Program for Young African Leaders, and most recently the Study of the U.S. Institutes for Student Leaders on Women’s Leadership (SUSI-WL) program.
IGS sponsors such signature events as Global Month each fall and country-specific celebrations each spring.
IGS collaborates with other global partners on campus, including the Office for International Students and Scholars, the Confucius Institute and the Center for Global and Area Studies. In addition, IGS partners with Enrollment Management to coordinate the UD World Scholars Program.
Article and photo by Nikki Laws