Bollinger Fund helps international LBJ students explore the U.S. | LBJ School of Public Affairs | The University of Texas at Austin

The William and Judith Bollinger International Student Enrichment Fund helps international master's degree students experience a bit of American culture that they can share with their peers, friends and families back home.

The LBJ School of Public Affairs is fortunate to have a cohort of international students from all over the world who help bring fresh perspectives to public and social policy work. But earning a graduate degree is about more than attending classes and doing research. Particularly for international students, getting a chance to learn more about the United States and experience some of its broader culture is an integral component to their education. Thanks to the William and Judith Bollinger International Student Enrichment Fund, a group of nine LBJ masters students headed to Chicago Nov. 2-4 to get a taste of life outside of Austin.

Before heading off to the Windy City, the group — Guillermo Dominguez, Kirsten Smith, Tahar Hichri, Anushree Deb, Arijit Paladhi, Sanaa Rafique, Rehan Hasan, Zihao Wang and Mohamed Abufalgha — weighed in on the itinerary and came up with the quintessential Chicago experience, engineered by Graduate Admissions and Program Coordinator Gwendolyn Kelso: deep-dish pizza from Lou Malnati’s, group trips to The Second City, the Art Institute of Chicago and sky-high fine dining, as well as some free time to explore the city on their own. The photos below offer some snapshots of their trip.


A teacher from The Second City helped LBJ students Sanaa Rafique, Tahar Hichri, Anushree Deb, Rehan Hasan, Zihao Wang and Mohamed Abufalgha hone their comedy skills during an improv workshop before they took in a show at the legendary comedy theater on Nov. 2.

A teacher from The Second City helped a group of international LBJ master's degree students hone their comedy skills during an improv workshop in Chicago
(Photo courtesy of Gwendolyn Kelso)

 

At the Art Institute of Chicago, the group explored the spectacular collection …

Some of the signature pieces at the Art Institute of Chicago's world-famous collection
Some of the signature pieces at the Art Institute's world-famous collection. Clockwise from top left: "A Sunday on La Grande Jatte," by Georges Seurat (1884); "Self-Portrait," by Vincent Van Gogh (1887); "Marilyn Monroe (Marilyn)" by Andy Warhol (1967); and "Water Lily Pond" by Claude Monet (1917-19). (Photo courtesy of Gwendolyn Kelso)

 

Rehan Hasan (left), a second-year MPAff student from Pakistan, and Zihao Wang, a first-year MPAff student from China, roam the galleries
Rehan Hasan (left), a second-year MPAff student from Pakistan, and Zihao Wang, a first-year MPAff student
from China, roam the galleries. (Photo courtesy of Gwendolyn Kelso)

 

… before getting in touch with their inner artists in a beginning sketching workshop.

A group of international LBJ master's degree students take a beginning sketching class at the Art Institute of Chicago
Top: Kirsten Smith, a first-year MPAff student from Canada, explored her artistic side with other beginning sketchers including and Rehan Hasan (right). Left: Mohamed Abufalgha, a first-year MGPS student from Libya, shows off his work to Arijit Paladhi, a second-year MGPS student from India. Right: Guillermo Dominguez, a first-year MPAff student from Spain, with Sanaa Rafique, a second-year MPAff student from Pakistan. (Photo courtesy of Gwendolyn Kelso)

 

 

On Nov. 3, they enjoyed some fine dining and spectacular views at The Signature Room on the 95th floor of 875 North Michigan Ave.

A group of international LBJ master's degree students check out the menu at The Signature Room in Chicago
Top: Kirsten Smith, Arijit Paladhi, Guillermo Dominguez, Mohamed Abufalgha, Anushree Deb and Sanaa Rafique check out
the menu at The Signature Room. Bottom: Dessert. (Photo courtesy of Gwendolyn Kelso)

 

The view from the 94th floor of 875 N. Michigan Ave.
The view from the 94th floor of 875 N. Michigan Ave. (Photo courtesy of Gwendolyn Kelso)

 

Then they went just one floor down to get a bird's-eye view of Chicago at night on TILT, an enclosed moving observatory that tilts forward at intervals of 15, 25 and 30 degrees, giving visitors a downward-facing view of the city from 1,000 feet in the sky.

The group of international LBJ master's degree students who rode experienced TILT on the 94th floor of 875 N. Michigan Ave. in Chicago
The brave souls who experienced TILT. Back row, left to right: Tahar Hichri, Gwendolyn Kelso, Rehan Hasan, Zihao Wang, Guillermo Dominguez and Sanaa Rafique. Front row: Mohamed Abufalgha, Arijit Paladhi and Anushree Deb.
(Photo courtesy of Gwendolyn Kelso)

 

 

Awards from the William and Judith Bollinger International Student Enrichment Fund are open to all international students currently enrolled in a master’s degree program at the LBJ School.