By Jeff Murphy, April 19, 2016
WARRENSBURG, MO – While providing a financial incentive to make it possible for more students to pursue study abroad opportunities, the University of Central Missouri also is gaining momentum toward meeting its goal to have 500 students annually studying in foreign countries by 2019.
Contributing to this goal, the Study Abroad office in the UCM International Center this week announced six recipients of Generation Study Abroad Scholarships valued at $2,500 apiece. Students who will receive these awards for use during the 2016 summer or fall are: Zach Hanson, Sedalia; Hannah Baker, Amazonia; Valerie Castillo, Laredo, Texas; Demi Wilcher, Kansas City; and Raven Alade and Michael Stowers, both of St. Louis.
“Generation Study Abroad Scholarships are really meant to take away the financial burden so every student has the possibility of achieving a life-changing study abroad experience,” said Charlie Ambrose, a UCM graduate who serves as study abroad program assistant for the International Center.
He noted that the program was established to help ensure more minority students, as well as students who are the first in their family to attend college will have an opportunity to study abroad. With these recent awards, a total of 12 students will have received the scholarship, which was first awarded in fall 2015. This spring, one student was selected from each of UCM’s four academic colleges, one student who is enrolled in federal TRIO programs within the Department of Academic Enrichment was selected, and one was chosen by the UCM Office of the President.
To qualify, a student must be Pell Grant eligible, a first-generation college student, or a member of an underrepresented racial/ethnic group in higher education. Students also must submit an essay describing what an opportunity to study abroad would mean to them and two letters of recommendation. Any academic major can be applied to these opportunities, and students who receive the scholarship can choose from three different program types that involve study in a foreign land.
“We have exchange partnerships with 37 institutions around the world, mainly in Western Europe and Asia,” Ambrose said. “We also have third-party providers, which are companies that specialize in study abroad, and that broadens our network for location and academic programs. Then we have faculty-led programs, where a faculty member takes a group of students to another country that combines traditional classroom learning and experiential learning in an international setting. All three program types provide UCM students a variety of study abroad options for every major and for every budget.”
Students, who are receiving these financial awards, offered many reasons for wanting to study abroad. They detailed their hopes and plans throughout their essays.
Raven Alade, for example, plans to travel to Jamaica on a one-week study tour, where she will network with international writers at the Calabash Literacy Festival. She also will be part of a service learning project, which involves helping a women’s group with regard to issues such as education, income-producing projects, and creating awareness of issues such as women’s health.
“This will help with my career because one of my goals in life is to be able to have a foundation that is centered on uplifting communities and helping women to know their worth through adversity,” Alade wrote in her letter.
Another recipient, Zach Hanson , said he grew up in a family that instilled in him a servant’s attitude to show compassion for those around him.
“I am determined to add my experiences by volunteering or securing an internship that allows me to continue public service by utilizing my strengths and skill sets internationally,” he noted.
“With great consideration and discussion with an International Studies Abroad representative and one of our own Study Abroad advisors at UCM, I decided to push myself and chose to pursue studying in Brussels, Belgium, and learn French this summer. While studying political science abroad, my goal is to understand political structure from a worldly view while applying my positive attitude to experiences I will encounter.”
This scholarship program makes it possible for UCM to move closer toward meeting its overall goal for study abroad. As one of more than 350 colleges and university across the United States and 100 foreign institutions of higher education which have partnered with the Institute for International Education, UCM is committed to increasing the number of college students who have international study experiences. Slightly more than two years ago, UCM had about 50 students annually studying abroad. The university now has more than 400 participants each year, well on its way to meeting the 500-student goal by 2019.
Learn more about Generation Study Abroad Scholarships by visiting ucmo.edu/generation or by calling the Study Abroad office at 660-543-4195.