Experiential learning is a key component of education at the University of West Georgia, and the Halle Foundation is helping UWG students create opportunities to engage outside of the classroom.
Jayla Beard is a senior double-majoring in German and international economic affairs at UWG. Last October, she attended the 14th annual German-American Conference at the Kennedy School at Harvard University thanks to the support of the Halle Foundation.
“The main goal of the conference was to discuss and strengthen the relationship between Germany and the United States,” explained Beard. “My biggest takeaway was that these two countries have a strong relationship that benefits many, and we need to continue fostering this relationship. We have to collaborate, communicate and listen to one another to continue growing positively.”
Beard’s attendance was sponsored by the Halle Foundation, a nonprofit organization that seeks to further knowledge and relationships between Germany and the United States. One of the many ways this is done is by providing scholarships for students to further their education.
“The Halle Foundation was extremely supportive in assisting me,” said Beard. “They facilitated communication with other students attending the conference, awarded us scholarships to aid in the trip expenses, and there was a representative from the foundation who attended the conference to provide extra support.”
The idea for scholarship programs was crafted by Anthony Pellingra, deputy director of the foundation, and medical student, Luca Wachten.
“Our grantmaking is focused on Georgia so we wanted to find a way to support the conference and stick to our geographic focus,” said Pellingra. “We developed this program, which sent one outstanding German student from several different Georgia colleges and universities, in order to follow through on our goal of increasing access to international educational opportunities across the entire state.”
The Halle Foundation has been a critical part of UWG and the student experience for many.
“Claus Halle, founder of The Halle Foundation, believed that the foundation’s efforts were best spent on the young, who could create lasting friendships and develop cultural competence that could influence meaningful futures,” said Pellingra. “In most cases, this support takes the form of financial assistance for students participating in exchange or travel experiences, like UWG’s Vienna summer study abroad program.”
Beard is one of many students who has been greatly impacted by the Halle Foundation.
“The conference and the foundation presented opportunities that I never thought were possible,” explained Beard. “I was given networking opportunities and the ability to take action on what I have learned at UWG.”
UWG’s partnership with The Halle Foundation is just one example of how UWG strives to curate a first-choice university for students, encouraging them to engage with their studies and cultivate memorable opportunities.
“We hope the experience informed these students on the possibilities available in the transatlantic partnership and encouraged them to further their studies of German or pursue a career in the related field,” said Pellingra. “The foundation was proud to have Jayla as a participant, and she was an excellent representative of UWG, the Foundation, and the state of Georgia.”