West Virginia Wesleyan College junior Michael Jean-Baptiste of West Palm Beach, FL received the Dr. Harold T. Elmore, Hon. ’82 Emeritus Club Endowed Scholarship for International Travel. This summer, Jean-Baptiste will travel to Ecuador and spend four weeks studying global health and Spanish.
“The reason why I chose Ecuador was because I wanted the taste of a culture different that the one I am used to,” stated Jean-Baptiste. “I believe in growth of an individual, and the best way to do that is step out of your comfort zone and be on your own for a little while in a culture that is completely unfamiliar to you.”
Born in Haiti, Jean-Baptiste is already fluent in French, Haitian Creole, and English. He lived in Haiti until he was 13, then moved to New York and, finally, Florida. He is excited to immerse himself in the language of Ecuador.
“Ecuador gives me the opportunity to learn a fourth language,” he said. “I understand Spanish for the most part, but I have never mastered it. I believe it is because I have never lived in a Spanish-speaking country long enough.”
Mastering the language is not the only reason the nursing major is looking forward to his trip. He wants to use this journey as a way to better understand health care in a different country.
“As a future health care worker, the idea of traveling to a country less developed than the United States appealed to me,” he stated. “I will have the chance to see how people live in a less fortunate situation than I.”
This scholarship was established in 2013 as the Emeritus Club International Travel Scholarship. To honor the retirement of Dr. Harold T. Elmore, Hon. ’82, the Emeritus Club elected to rename the Scholarship in 2016 as the Dr. Harold T. Elmore, Hon. ’82 Emeritus Club Endowed Scholarship for International Travel. Dr. Elmore served Wesleyan with distinction and outstanding leadership as the Coordinator of the Emeritus Club for 20 years.