Meet our 2011 Alumna of the Year - Leslie Pitman

Leslie Pitman spent one of her last days studying abroad with GlobaLinks Learning Abroad at Kingston University in London with a fellow photographer friend trying to soak up her surroundings through a camera lens, hoping in some way to preserve in her memory a place where, around every corner, she felt the presence of the British writers she so admired.

“We stayed there until after the sun went down,” says Pitman, 22, who GlobaLinks Learning Abroad presented last week with its 2011 Alumna of the Year Award during the annual NAFSA 2011 Annual Conference & Expo in Vancouver, British Columbia. “We walked over a bunch of the different bridges taking night shots, leaving our shutters open for a long time and capturing the light. I was trying to take it all in before I had to leave.”

Pitman, from Jacksonville, Fla., has since graduated from her home university, Queens University of Charlotte, N.C., with a degree in English literature. After returning home from her spring 2010 semester abroad in London, she applied for the GlobaLinks Learning Abroad Alumna/Alumnus of the Year Award with the hope it would be a first step toward a career in international education.

“In five months, I built some of the strongest relationships I have ever had, learned an old language in a totally new way, developed lifelong skills, traveled to four other countries, conquered the bus system, and learned how to be a Shakespearean actor,” Pitman said during her award acceptance speech, who was actually joking about the actor part, but learned how to push outside her comfort zone trying to deliver a few lines as Henry III. “… I plan to attend graduate school to study international education so that I can one day inspire other students like myself to step out into the world and find out what it’s like to be someone you never thought you could be.”

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Leslie is the fifth recipient of the Alumna/Alumnus of the Year Award. Past recipients include:

2010 - Emily Nagle, Elmhurst College, Mahidal University, Thailand
2009 - Kimberly Iona, Chapman University, University of Waikato, New Zealand
2008 - Michelle "Shelly" Jackson, Furman University, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand
2007 - Kelsey McNichols, University of Minnesota, University of Waikato, New Zealand


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