Promoting international learning: Marjorie Mader Award provides extraordinary opportunity

Part of the Dalhousie Difference series

- May 17, 2013

Students Kaitlyn Boulding and Katherine Strynatka. (Photos from video shoot)
Students Kaitlyn Boulding and Katherine Strynatka. (Photos from video shoot)

To fully appreciate the impact of financial awards for students to travel abroad, you need look no further than to Kaitlyn Boulding and Katherine Strynatka, the inaugural recipients of the Marjorie Mader Award in Dalhousie’s Department of German. Just ask them about their experiences at the University of Heidelberg  and watch their eyes light up – literally. 

Boulding, who graduated this past spring, had only taken two German courses before signing up for the international study opportunity.

“What really made the difference was being in a culture where everyone speaks many languages fluently and has been on international exchanges themselves,” she says. “The way they approach learning a new language created such a great environment that I forgot to feel self-conscious – it was amazing.” As a result, Boulding says she returned to Dal after her four-month immersion experience completely fluent in the language – no small accomplishment.

For Boulding, the icing on the cake is the prestigious Killam Scholarship she has been awarded as she begins a Master of Arts in Classics this fall. “I really believe that the Madar Award, along with the international study experience helped my application,” she says.

Strynatka, who has already received a BA in French from Dalhousie, is now working on completing a combined honours degree in Biochemistry and German.

“Language is a bit of an addition for me,” she says smiling. Shy and soft-spoken, she says she used the international opportunity to “get over myself,” as she puts it. “I made a real effort to put myself out there and not let perceived obstacles stop me from doing what I wanted. I’m so much more confident and outgoing now – I feel like I can handle anything.”

This article is part of the Dalhousie Difference series, exploring what the power of philantrophy means to the university and introducing and showcasing some of the 50 innovative projects in development. Learn more at


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