In 2013, the Office of International Programs created the Freshmen Education Abroad Scholarship (FEAS), to encourage students to enroll in internationally themed courses at KSU, and to encourage KSU incoming freshmen to start planning for study abroad during their 1st semester on campus. The FEAS is a two-part scholarship, which initially provides up to 10 students a $750 scholarship which goes towards the tuition of a Global Issues & Perspectives course, or the LEAD 502 Global Citizenship course. Those 10 recipients also receive a $2,000 scholarship to help fund a study abroad program. Students who receive the $750 are not required to study abroad, but if they choose to do so, the $2,000 is available to them to use during a future term for study abroad. Fall 2015 marks the 3rd cycle of this scholarship, and the recipients of the 1st and 2nd cycles are starting to return from their study abroad experiences.
Ann Hoang, a KSU junior majoring in accounting, minoring in economics, who is also earning the International Business Certificate from the College of Business Administration, just completed her study abroad program in South Korea (KSU exchange, Kyung Hee University) during the spring 2015 term. Ann learned about the FEAS during her 1st semester on campus and decided to apply. “I was made aware of the Freshman Education Abroad Scholarship through a student speaker who came into my Business Foundations class. I applied to this scholarship because I knew even before I started college that I wanted to study abroad so I pounced on the opportunity to get scholarships early.”
Ann applied for and received the scholarship during her 1st semester on campus, and then applied for a Global Issues & Perspectives course during her 2nd semester on campus in spring 2014. “I chose to take Japanese 1 as my Global Issues and Perspectives course. The course definitely had an impact on where I wanted to study. I knew that I wanted to study somewhere in Asia. My first option was Japan since I was taking Japanese 1, but if I went to Japan I would only be taking Japanese language courses…so I decided to go to South Korea.” Courses that meet the Global Issues & Perspective requirement, or LEAD 502, can really help prepare students to think more globally, and inform their study abroad program decision making process.
One of the clear indicators of success with study abroad is early planning. One of the ideas behind the scholarship was to encourage students to apply for their scholarship as a freshman, so those students could begin to think about how a study abroad program will fit into their collegiate plans. As soon as Ann set foot on the KSU campus, she began to explore her study abroad options, “I started doing a lot of research on countries I wanted to study. I attended the Study Abroad Fair as a freshman and gathered numerous resources and contact information about study abroad programs and scholarships. I even had some conversations with study abroad program representatives after the fair. Once I received the FEA Scholarship, I had more discussions with Joe (my study abroad advisor) and continued my research on schools and countries on an exchange basis.” In addition to visiting the study abroad office, students should meet with their academic advisors early in the decision making process. Academic advisors can help guide students towards the right courses to take while abroad.
“I have benefited significantly in all realms of my life because of studying abroad. Being in South Korea, I learned better ways of studying and achieving my academic goals. Personally, I have learned a lot about the good and ugly…and it has changed my perspective on how I treat others around me. Professionally, I feel as if I have obtained better communication skills and I have learned how to interact with other cultures on a professional level. My career goals have changed a little since I have left South Korea but they have become more defined and have more direction.”
To learn more about the Freshmen Education Abroad Scholarship, visit the Study Abroad Office in 304 Fairchild Hall. Or, visit the Study Abroad Office website.