Education Abroad has created three new scholarships — Early Abroad, AMP, and Global Internships — and a new study in Canada program with money from UNL's new contract with Union Bank.
“We’re interested in using these funds in creative ways to encourage more students to study, intern, research or do service learning abroad,” said Dave Wilson, senior international officer and associate vice chancellor for academic affairs.
The majority of students wait until their junior or senior years to study abroad, but a new scholarship, Early Abroad, encourages UNL undergraduate students to travel during their first two years.
“We want students to go early and share what they learned with their friends and classmates while they’re still in school,” said Rebecca Luhrs Baskerville, director of Education Abroad.
The $2,000 Early Abroad scholarships require recipients to share their study abroad experience through a creative presentation, such as a blog, video or photo exhibit. Recipients must also meet with an academic success coach in UNL’s First-Year Experience and Transition programs.
The awards can be deferred as long as students travel during their first two years at UNL.
“We hope these students become recruiters for education abroad with their classmates, bring their experiences with them back into their UNL classrooms, and perhaps elect to study, intern, research, or do service learning abroad a second time,” Wilson said.
This scholarship can help students decide on their fields of study, Baskerville said. Additionally, studying abroad early is a better fit for some academic programs.
Education Abroad, in partnership with the W.H. Thompson Learning Community, has also created a new freshman-only program called “Canada: Learning in Place.” The program will take students to Montreal and Quebec City, allowing participants to explore the similarities and differences between the United States and Canada. It will also provide students an opportunity to learn the benefits of international experience.
“We’re imagining it as an appetizer,” Wilson said. “Can we whet students’ appetites for studying abroad?”
In addition to encouraging first-year students to travel, Education Abroad has also created the AMP scholarship to expand the opportunities for students studying Arabic, Mandarin Chinese and Portuguese.
Currently, Modern Languages only offers basic classes in the three languages. The department now has a 300-level Arabic course and recently began offering an Arabic minor. Students can only study Mandarin at UNL for two years. There are only two Portuguese classes at UNL, one of which is an introduction for Spanish speakers.
“We don’t want a student to fall in love with a language and not achieve the level of proficiency they want,” Baskerville said.
The AMP scholarships, named for the supported languages, will be $1,500 for summer and $3,000 for semester and year immersion programs in countries where these languages are spoken.
“We want to encourage students to have immersion experiences and pursue their studies in these languages,” Wilson said. “We believe having some proficiency in Arabic, Mandarin or Portuguese will set our students apart as they look for jobs. These languages, these parts of the world, will become increasingly important in the futures of our students.”
Scholarships worth $1,500 for students completing credit-earning global internships were also established. The Global Internship Awards will help students with unpaid or low-paid internships abroad reduce their expenses.
“Working in a foreign environment is challenging,” Baskerville said. “I think if students can successfully navigate and work in another country, they will be sought after by future employers.”
Additionally, the Union Bank contract also provided renewed funding for the Discovery Scholarship, which encourages programs in underrepresented areas or fields of study.
Increasing study abroad opportunities is important to Chancellor Harvey Perlman, who stated his goal for UNL students studying abroad during his Oct. 2 State of the University address.
“Every student when they walk across the stage at graduation should possess a passport with at least one foreign stamp,” Perlman said.
According to Wilson, the university’s emphasis on education abroad is due to the increasingly connected world.
“Experience abroad is not just a luxury, but an important part of being an educated person,” Wilson said. “Study abroad is not tourism but a legitimate educational endeavor with real learning goals and outcomes. Study abroad is an increasingly important tool for preparing students for the world in which they’ll live and work.”
The application deadline for UNL education abroad scholarships is Feb. 1 for the 2015 summer and fall programs. The deadline for spring 2016 scholarships is Oct. 1.
For more details about the new scholarships and program, and the previously announced Global Gateway scholarships, visit Education Abroad’s website: http://educationabroad.unl.edu/.
Published on UNL Today on 11/17/2014. http://news.unl.edu/newsrooms/unltoday/article/education-abroad-offers-new-opportunities-to-students/