Meet the Spring 2022 ISEP Community Scholarship Recipients

November 9, 2021

ISEP is thrilled to congratulate the recipients of our ISEP Community Scholarship and ISEP Founders Fellowship award. These scholarships assist students from ISEP Member Institutions with a demonstrated financial need in making their goals to study abroad a reality. The awards support our mission to extend access and affordability of study abroad by encouraging applications from students who are statistically underrepresented in study abroad. Each ISEP Community Scholarship awardee will receive US$500, and the ISEP Founders Fellow will receive US$2,500 to use while studying abroad with ISEP next semester.

Continue reading to get to know some of our students and their amazing stories. Learn more about ISEP Scholarships and how you can donate to the ISEP Scholarships Fund to give the gift of international education and a life-changing experience.

ISEP Founders Fellowship Award Recipient

Applicants submitted creative projects emphasizing the value of language learning in study abroad.

Luis Mario Alvarez Alfaro from Lake Forest College will study at TU Dortmund in Germany.

I was born in Costa Rica, speaking Spanish as my mother tongue. I grew up in the countryside where there were many mountains, rivers with abundant freshwater, and such a vibrant Latin American culture. Afterwards, I moved to El Salvador and Singapore where I was able to perfect my English, French, and Italian. I am currently a student in Lake Forest College, IL, USA. I am majoring in International Relations and Linguistics. I am also pursuing an Environmental Studies minor. I was able to study abroad before with USAC, Brazil where I was able to improve my level of Portuguese considerably and learn about sustainable development. I am very excited to begin my second study abroad program as a scholar from Central America in TU Dortmund, Germany. I have always appreciated the German culture and I am super excited to learn the German language directly immersed in a German speaking environment. While studying abroad with ISEP, I will be able to learn a lot about topics related to my master’s degree in public policy. I want to learn more about the European Union and German gastronomy.

ISEP Community Scholarship Award Recipients

These awards of US$500 will be used toward study abroad programs next semester (Northern Hemisphere Spring 2022). Students may defer their award to a later term if their program is suspended for Spring 2022.

Aarti Singh from Lake Forest College will study at TU Dortmund in Germany.

The earliest dream of mine that I could still remember was to travel the world. As a kid, my dad would take me to watch the airplane take off and ever since then, my goal was to travel to as many places as I can in this lifetime. At Lake Forest College, my home institution, I am double majoring in International Relations and Finance. As an International Relations major, studying the relationship between countries and their dependency has always intrigued me. But, having chosen IR as a major, our institution emphasizes having knowledge of a second language, besides English. This was an easy challenge for me. I am from Mumbai, India and came to the US four years ago as an international student. The culture and the people were so different from back home that I wanted to explore every aspect of this unique culture. Language specifically was a major challenge. India, being home of more than 19,500 languages, English was always given a priority. Since an early age, my siblings and I were fluent in English but wanted to learn other languages as well. Unfortunately, our schools did not have any other language courses and our excitement was shattered. Not until my freshman year of college, when I found out about the language requirement for an International Relations major, I started questioning and thinking of ways I could challenge myself and still learn a third language. With lots of time management and patience, I chose to learn German with the help of online apps such as Duolingo and started my journey of learning a new third language.

Cristina Hernandez Cardenas from Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Occidente (ITESO) will study at Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore in Italy.

My name is Cristina, I am 23 and I am a student at ITESO University in Guadalajara México. I am a psychology student at ITESO and for this reason I have been accepted in Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore in Milano. ISEP has given me the opportunity to travel to Italy and I am extremely excited to get to know the culture, the language and learn as much as I can from International psychology professors. My natal language is Spanish, but I also speak English and I am on the journey of learning Italian, but I am still on a really basic level.

Said Ghneim from Bielefeld will study at Washington State University in the USA.

Growing up in a household of low socio-economic status in Germany with an Arab migration history has always made it very difficult for me to gain access to good education. At a very young age, however, through numerous media influences, I was able to develop a passion for the English language and American culture that drove me to attend college and study English as a core subject at Bielefeld University to become an English teacher. It was clear to me from the beginning that the studies I had taken up would only be worthwhile if I could spend a longer period in an English-speaking country, at best in the USA, to be able to develop both my linguistic and intercultural skills. The fact that ISEP is finally giving me the opportunity to fulfill this childhood dream by studying at the Washington State University in an affordable way and is also supporting me with the ISEP Community Scholarship is an indescribable feeling!

Iker Villegas Dominguez from University of Jamestown will study at American University of Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates.

I am a Mexican born in Seville, Spain, and despite being the first in my close family to attend a university abroad and speak Spanish, English and French, I want to use this great opportunity of studying that my parents are giving me with a lot of effort. to be able to stand out in the best possible way. With this opportunity to attend the American University of Sharjah in UAE, I will be able to step out of my comfort zone in a way that will allow me to improve as a person in many areas. At my current institution, the University of Jamestown, I am studying Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing, and thanks to this opportunity abroad, I will be able to take my marketing classes with a very good multicultural approach, since I will be able to learn about management and promotion of luxury brands, as well as marketing in tourism, among other things. One of my main goals at UAE is to expand my connections with people from all over the world who have more experience than me in the business area, learn from them, and be able in the near future to apply that knowledge to help my family.

Divinity Richardson from Virginia Wesleyan University will study at University of Tartu in Estonia.

Over the past few years that I’ve spent at Virginia Wesleyan University, I have grown tremendously. I have gone from being quiet and shy to being on the executive board of Marlins Go Green, my school’s environmental club. Being in the honors college is a welcome challenge for me. All of the hard work that I’ve put into myself and my studies has allowed me to be have this opportunity to study abroad in Estonia. I would like a career that’s related to the environment, and as a result I am majoring in earth and environmental science (B.S.) and minoring in environmental studies. While abroad, I plan to take electives for my major, and then hopefully some more artistic classes that are unique to Estonia and its culture. Next year being my senior year, I am starting to look at graduate schools and weigh my possible career options.

Veronica Lilli from Università degli Studi di Urbino Carlo Bo will study at Clarion University of Pennsylvania in the USA.

I am Italian, and I live in a small town on the east coast. In Italy we study English since elementary school, so we quite know all the basics but, unfortunately, it is very rare to be able to practice what we learn in school. Also because of this, one of my biggest dreams has always been to live, at least for some months, in America so I would finally be able to perfect my English and in particular my pronunciation. When I go abroad, I will take a few classes related to my course of study here in Italy, I am currently studying Special Education, and I already know that these courses will be very different from what I am studying at the moment. Here we are more concentrated on the theory, but I am very excited to learn something more practical and get to know a completely different type of study system. I’m really into the subject that I am going to study abroad because I am sure that they will give me a lot of tools that will definitely make me a much greater educator in the future.

Kim Tran from San Jose State University will study at Yonsei University in South Korea.

Growing up, I only spoke Vietnamese at home. My English skills were not strong, and my parents could not help me because they did not know the language well either. As a result, I have always been committed to working hard and challenging myself in order to ensure my academic success. Since I’m a business management student, I’ve always had the goal of developing the necessary skills that would help me with my career. Studying abroad at Yonsei University in South Korea would allow me to expand my academic horizon because I would have the opportunity to adapt to a different educational system. I will be expanding my capabilities of learning the different management styles in the business field and becoming more versatile in the workplace. I will have an understanding of the world around me, expand my knowledge in the business field, and broaden my perspectives for the rest of my education and career during this study abroad opportunity.

Samuel Moreno from Colorado Mesa University will study at University of Central Lancashire in England.

I’m Sam, a senior history major from Colorado, and I will be studying in England at the University of Central Lancashire for the Spring 2022 semester. I have lived in the same area my whole life, so the experience is sure to be a drastic one for me. I didn’t fly on a plane until I was eighteen and had barely been out of Colorado until just a few years ago. But as an immigrants son, I know firsthand how much movement matters. Nonetheless, or rather, because of this, I am excited to continue studying history and similar classes in England and am hopeful they, and the experience abroad, will expand my understanding of the world and of myself. I hope to one day give back though the Peace Corps and studying abroad will help me prepare for that through the highs and lows that I am sure to experience.

Zakaria Taleb from Al Akhawayn University will study at University of Maryland, Baltimore County in the USA.

I am from Casablanca, a coastal city in Morocco. The interesting thing about me is that none of my parents ever had the privilege of schooling, and I believe this is one of the reasons why I have always been trying to make the best out of my academic experience. Although I am well-versed in 3 languages, I have never had the chance to apply my skills within a native environment where I would get to interact with native speakers and immerse myself in the culture. I am also a tech-savvy computer science major. I believe in the potential of technology to change lives for the best when used properly. Going to a country with tech hubs like Silicon Valley or Austin will allow me to network and improve my skills and expand my horizons. When abroad, I plan to take some Artificial Intelligence courses, which would deepen my understanding of intelligent systems.

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