Get to Know Study Away's Student Staff!

April Stratman, Graduate Assistant

April Stratman photoHaving a father as a pilot made it almost impossible for April not to love travel! Her first trip out of the country to visit family in Italy was really when the fire was ignited, and since then she’s had an insatiable thirst for more. Beginning to learn Italian from her grandparents, and then Spanish in school, also revealed another passion for languages that she wants to make a central part of her future career.

From studying abroad her junior year in Alicante, Spain, she has gained a broadening of horizons and perspective that only comes from being exposed to other cultures and ways of thinking. She can’t rave enough about the incredible host family she lived with and knows she’ll always have a second family in Spain. During the semester she was able to travel throughout Spain, France, Italy, and Greece as well. After leaving Spain she spent the summer teaching English in Italy and had the opportunity to meet other teachers from all over the world. She made her first visit to Asia, summer 2013, to Thailand and Japan and hopes to go back someday soon.

Besides one day hopefully working for the government in foreign affairs or as a linguist, April wants to become a pilot herself and continue the family tradition. 

Thomas Uthipratuma, Graduate Assistant

Thomas Uthipratuma"My name is Vinai Thomas Uthipratuma, and I am currently a senior at Missouri State University in the Global Studies/Spanish programs. I am also pursuing two minors in Asian and Latin American Studies. I am come from a vivid background with Thai and Lao origins, as my relatives fled here to the U.S. in the 1960s and 70s during and after the Vietnam War. My family has been central in forming my ideas of the world and the societies I encounter. Because I feel so related to this identity, upon graduating I would like to invest more time and effort to return to the Southeast Asia and find groups or institutions that work with two social issues that plague this area of the world: child sex tourism and defense of local identity against advantageous industries. In the meantime, I have been offered a position at Rachamangala University of Technology Phra Nakhon as an adjunct professor in their English department.

With the Study Away Office, I studied in La Universidad Católica in Córdoba, Argentina for 13 months taking courses in the humanities and international relations departments. I decided to go abroad with ISEP for the purpose of understanding more of Latin American society, government, and thought. Also, I was on a linguistic mission to improve my Spanish, and I am happy to say I have picked up a large amount of Portuguese as well. I am grateful to have met people that I consider new long-life friends although we will be many kilometers apart. Some memorable travels include the east coast of Uruguay, the End of the World in Ushuaia, and the Iguazú waterfalls in Argentina. My other travel experience abroad was in Thailand, May/June 2011 with a joined-university group with students from MSU and Ball State University in Indiana teaching English to local university students in Bangkok.

On campus, I enjoy my time with Association of International Students."