Dec. 6, 2021
Bon voyage, Morgan and Victoria
Dear Friends of E. Catherine Barclay,
For the first year in the history of the ECB Scholarship, we will have two recipients studying in France! Due to the pandemic, students were unable to study abroad last year, so ECB Scholarship funds were held over until 2021. This allowed UCalgary to award the scholarship to two deserving students for this year: Morgan Richardson and Victoria Lambrinoudis. This is also the first time that our scholarship recipients will attend Sciences Po Lille, a Political Science institution located in the heart of Lille, a vibrant university city in the northern region of Hauts-de-France near the border with Belgium.
In late August, we were moved to host our traditional send-off in the newly named Mary and Catherine Barclay Park, located at the corner of Crescent Road and Third Street. An article on HI Canada's website describes the park as “a little slice of paradise in Calgary’s northwest.” Morgan and Victoria joined friends, family, community partners and University of Calgary leaders in this beautiful setting, overlooking the river valley, to celebrate a return to study abroad. In what has become a scholarship tradition, Hostelling International Calgary generously gifted both recipients with a symbolic and useful backpack filled with hostelling essentials, including a one-year HI membership.
Morgan, a fourth-year Global Development Studies student, departed for France at the end of August and is primarily taking courses in Political Science, Economics and Sociology. Morgan is passionate about sustainability and has completed a certificate in sustainability studies at the University of Calgary. In taking courses from Sciences Po Lille’s International Undergraduate Programme, she hopes to continue her studies from an international perspective and receive a certificate in Political Studies during her year abroad.
Settling in was extra challenging this year due to added Covid-19 related barriers; it took multiple weeks for Morgan to receive her French vaccine passport. Morgan’s courses started in mid September, and she speaks very highly of her experience at Sciences Po Lille so far. Before departing, she had been concerned about her ability to take university level courses in French, fearing that her comprehension would be insufficient. Other than taking French language courses at the University of Calgary, Morgan had not studied in French since high school. While the first few weeks were tricky, the language quickly returned to her, and her skills have improved immensely, largely thanks to living in a French household. Much to her surprise, it was a seamless transition at school. Despite never having studied political science in French, the vocabulary switch felt intuitive. Although there is definitely room for improvement, she is thankful that she can comprehend her lectures and that she has already ‘switched to her French brain.
Victoria, a third-year student in French and Education, will join Morgan in Lille for the winter semester and says she is “honoured to participate in this adventure.” Victoria was strongly encouraged to apply for the award by her high school French teacher, Zara Villarreal, who was the ECB Scholarship recipient in 2013! Zara is inspiring her French students to reach for international exchange opportunities just as E. Catherine Barclay inspired her own students so many years ago - a testament to the enduring Barclay legacy and the reach of our growing community of alumni and supporters. And Victoria says, “I am thankful [Zara] motivated me to take part in this amazing opportunity, and I will make sure to do the same with my future students.”
Outside of school, Victoria tutors students from kindergarten to grade 12 in various subjects. Teaching a handful of young students to speak French has given her a taste of what to expect in her future teaching career. She is also a part of a non-profit group called Maids of Athena (MOA), a group of young girls and women striving to give back to local hospitals, homeless shelters, the Indigenous community and Calgary’s Greek community.
As she prepares to leave for Lille in January, Victoria says, “I am most excited to meet new people, try new food and see new places. I am especially excited to ride the metro and explore all the different cities France has to offer.”
We wish Morgan and Victoria unforgettable adventures as they live, learn and play in Lille this coming year!
E. Catherine Barclay Scholarship Advisory Committee
Silvia Rossi (1991 recipient)
Andrea Jung (1993 recipient)
Audrey Taylor Bereznicki (2009 recipient)
Paola Velasquez (2016 recipient)