Global

Scholarships Make World Travel Possible for All Students

By Beth Pullias

It’s an experience anyone would treasure—the opportunity to study abroad. And thanks to several scholarships offered by the Center for Global Education (CGE),  international travel is now more affordable for Mason students.

Samantha Blizzard, a senior tourism and events management major, used a Global Scholars scholarship to intern in London last summer with D&D London, a restaurant cooperation. She assisted in planning and implementing three events, developed a targeted invitation list, and updated various documents. The scholarship helped her cover tuition and expenses, including travel outside London.

Students in the London internship program pose while sightseeing. Students in the internship program work at British companies three days a week while earning 6 credits for the semester. Photo courtesy of Center for Global Education.

Students in the London internship program pose while sightseeing. Students in the internship program work at British companies three days a week while earning 6 credits for the semester. Photo courtesy of the Center for Global Education.

“I would have been able to study abroad, because it was a priority of mine, but I would not have been able to afford to travel to other countries like Scotland, Italy, and Spain and experience more culture while interning in Europe,” Blizzard explains via e-mail. “I would have been on a tight budget during the trip, and paying tuition for the following semester would have been difficult.”

Scholarships through CGE range from $100 to $1,000 but usually average $250 to $500. The number of scholarships awarded varies from year to year, but CGE estimates that 60 to 75 are granted annually. Each year, about $30,000 in scholarship funds are available.

“The Center for Global Education offers challenging, enriching, and highly educational opportunities to the Mason community,” says CGE director Yehuda Lukacs. “With programs in more than 70 countries—many led by Mason faculty—our students are able to study, conduct research, and volunteer as interns abroad. Thousands of Mason students have attended CGE programs over the years and returned home with an incredible sense of academic and cultural accomplishments. Study abroad greatly enhances global understanding.”

Senior Kim Harding takes a seat at the World Trade Organization headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, during one of her three study abroad experiences. Photo courtesy of Kim Harding.

Mason senior Kim Harding takes a seat at the World Trade Organization headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, during one of her three study-abroad experiences. Photo courtesy of Kim Harding.

Mohamad Elbarasse, a senior with a double major in economics and mathematics, studied French for six weeks at Université du Québec à Montréal. His two scholarships, the Global Perspective and Global Citizen scholarships, helped him pay for room and board, day-to-day expenses, and weekend excursions to different parts of Quebec.

“The process [to apply] was pretty simple,” Elbarasse says. “There is an application form for the scholarships, and both require short essays along with a letter of recommendation from a professor or employer.”

Global Scholarships require a follow-up service project when students return. Students can participate in the CGE photo contest, send a letter or e-mail detailing their experience, staff the CGE kiosk in the Johnson Center to tell other students about their experience, or create a presentation to show others.

Kim Harding, a senior integrative studies major, found out about the  fall 2011 CGE orientation for transfer students. With the help of scholarship money and the flexibility to create her own major in New Century College, she had the chance to study abroad—three times.

In Milan, Italy, summer program, students study Italian media, culture, and society. Photo courtesy of Center for Global Education.

In Milan, Italy, summer program students explore Italian media, culture, and society. Photo courtesy of the Center for Global Education.

For Harding’s cultural trip to Italy, she combined three scholarships she found through the CGE website: the Gilman Scholarship  and Mason’s Global Perspectives and Global Citizens scholarships.

As her service project, Harding is presenting a workshop later this month at Germana Community College in Fredericksburg, Virginia, to show community college students how they can study abroad.

“Since Mason’s programs are open to non-Mason students, they can take courses and apply for the same scholarships that I did,” says Harding. “I really want the community college students to do this because it’s something I wished I had done sooner.”

Harding has traveled not only to Italy, but also to Switzerland. This spring, she will study at the University of Oxford in England.

What would Harding tell a student uncertain about study abroad and financing the trip? “It’s an experience that you will never forget and cherish forever” she says. “If you are concerned about money, there are ways to pay for it, including tons of scholarships.”

CGE offers a wide range of international opportunities to study, do research, and serve. Mason students, faculty, staff and, the general public are welcome to join any of the trips. The programs are designed for undergraduates, graduates, and professionals who want more knowledge of other cultures.

The next application deadline for scholarships is in February and March 2013 for summer and fall 2013 and 2013-14 academic year programs. The deadline for the CGE Global Perspectives scholarship for short-term programs is March 8. More information on upcoming study-abroad trips can be found at the CGE website.

This article originally appeared on the university’s News site.

To read more stories about Mason, check out the university’s News site.

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