Study abroad programs offer scholarships to students

Leighann McGivern

After studying abroad in Florence, Italy in spring 2010, senior psychology major Jamie Johnson said she couldn’t put a price limit on her experience.

“Live off buttered noodles and water if it means seeing and doing more while you’re there,” Johnson said. “Don’t worry about the cost. Any amount of money is worth it.”

Kent offers two main study abroad programs in Florence, Italy and Geneva, Switzerland.

“It’s an experience everyone deserves, and it’s an experience you can’t get any other way,” Johnson said.

Studying abroad will cost students regular tuition plus an additional $2,381 for the Florence program or $3,914 for the Geneva program. Depending on the specific program with which a student studies abroad, there will be additional fees for field trips and overnight travels, especially in the programs for fashion and architecture majors. On top of this, students need to provide money for airfare and food. These figures aren’t set in stone.

Ediz Kaykayoglu, academic program coordinator in the Office of International Affairs, said only about 2 percent of Kent State students choose to study abroad each year. Scholarships can cover a lot of the added costs that scare students away from studying abroad.

“There are so many scholarships out there, and the thing is, the applications are really, really basic,” Kaykayoglu said.

Sarah Hull, academic program officer in the Office of International Affairs, said students often miss out on scholarship opportunities.

“It all kind of depends upon how much work the student does,” Hull said. “Students aren’t always aware of the available funding opportunities for study abroad.”

Academic advisor Deborah Davis, who coordinates the CCI in Florence program, said most of the scholarships and financial aid a student already has can be applied to most study abroad fees.

Hull said she always encourages students to apply for a variety of scholarships even if they seem irrelevant. One student received a baseball scholarship even though she had only played T-Ball in elementary school, Hull said.

She said she knew of another student who managed to cover the entire cost of her semester in Germany through scholarships.

Josh Fowler, a Kent State graduate who now works in the Office of International Affairs, said his experience in Geneva in spring 2009 served as an escape from the monotony of college life and even inspired him to pick up an international relations minor.

“I got this restless college spirit, and I really wanted to get out of the university and do something,” Fowler said.

While in Geneva, Fowler said he was able to fulfill a lot of his upper-level economics classes and received a $1,500 scholarship through the College of Business.

“It was a one-page application and a one-page letter of how studying abroad would impact me as a student,” Fowler said.

Emma Rucker, junior fine arts major, said in addition to her $2,000 scholarship, she saved money by shopping in stores similar to dollar stores.

“They’re called bureau stores,” Rucker said. “You can buy food and supplies for, you know, a euro, really cheap. There are a lot of free events. I mean, people are out on the streets playing music all the time, so you can listen to that for free.”

One euro is currently worth about $1.37.

Johnson said she would recommend the study abroad experience to anyone, regardless of cost.

“Spend the money there while you can doing the things you’ll never get another chance to do,” Johnson said.

Contact Leighann McGivern at [email protected] .