Get to Know Our Spring 2019 ISEP Community Scholarship Recipients

November 14, 2018

Last month, ISEP awarded 10 ISEP Community Scholarships to ISEP students from around the world who will study abroad next semester (Northern Hemisphere Spring 2019).

The ISEP Community Scholarship assists 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 to use while studying abroad.

Get to know more about each of the ISEP Community Scholarship winners!

Jeremy Faamau from University of the South Pacific will study abroad at University of Regina in Canada.

“I am from a small village in the rural areas of an isolated island in the Pacific Ocean, Samoa, just a small dot on the map with a population of approximately 200,000 people. My native language is Samoan, and I speak English as a secondary language. I started using English as a language of communication in my earlier years of high school, because our curriculums demanded that we become proficient in the language if we were to move up in the world. I spent 5 years in Samoa college (high school) and continued to foundation year at the National University of Samoa (NUS). At NUS, thousands of academics who have sat the Secondary School Leaving Certificate exams flocked the campus. There, we competed for limited scholarships offered by the government to different countries around the world. Specifically, Australia, New Zealand, China, Japan, Fiji and more. I was able to obtain a scholarship to the University of the South Pacific in Fiji and it is where I am currently studying towards a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in Political Science and Psychology.

In all my years of schooling, I have seen my parents struggling with paying my school fees and I took it upon myself to make sure that their sacrifices were not made in vain. Even though I attended the most expensive schools, I understood a long time ago that my parents wanted nothing but the best for their son. I received my scholarship award to study in Fiji at the beginning of this year (2018). After the completion of my first semester, one of my professors recommended that I take up the exchange program offered by our university. At first, I was hesitant and indecisive, then I thought to myself, I have already made it this far why should I stop here.

I faced several financial hurdles while applying for the ISEP program. I have been trying my best to make ends meet without letting my family know, because I don’t want to place any more burden on them. Fortunately, the ISEP Community Scholarship was made available to me in the course of the application. I am thankful that I am receiving this award and I will not take it for granted. It will benefit me greatly whilst studying abroad.”

Johara Flores from California State University - East Bay will study abroad at Universidad de Vigo in Spain.

“Growing up with the ability of understanding and speaking two languages, Spanish and English, was something I was always grateful of. When I was thirteen, I had the chance to spend a summer in Mexico with my extended family and it was such an amazing experience. I was able to fully appreciate my culture and communicate in my native language. It was such a wonderful feeling being able to connect back to my roots. While studying abroad at Universidad de Vigo in Spain, my goal is strengthen my Spanish and to embrace all the different cultures that I will encounter. This upcoming semester is very important to me because not only will I have the opportunity to use my native language but I will also be gaining an experience of a lifetime. I am the first in my family to attend to college and now I am the first to travel to the other side of the world.”

Claudia Hazard Valdés from Universidad Técnica Federico Santa María will study abroad at Toyo University in Japan.

“My name is Claudia Hazard Valdés and I live in Santiago, Chile. I am a student of Computer Science and basketball player at Universidad Técnica Federico Santa María, located in Santiago, Chile. As a native Spanish speaker, I have–since an early age– been fascinated by other cultures and languages (I started learning English as a child). My interest in Japan increased, as I started my studies in computer science, because it is a highly structured technologically advanced country that is on the cutting edge of computer engineering and technology. Three years ago I began learning the basics of the Japanese language. I have been accepted to study abroad at Tokyo University in Tokyo, Japan, to the betterment of my future computer engineering career. While there, I look forward to learn more about Japanese computer technology, society, language, business communication systems; as well as interacting with the Japanese people and their culture.”

Alexandra Jeske from University of Wisconsin La Crosse will study abroad at Universidad Casa Grande in Ecuador.

“My name is Alex. I was adopted from China when I was 3.5 years old. From then I lived with my parents and adopted sister as well, in the Twin Cities, Minnesota. I am currently a sophomore in college and am planning on studying abroad in Ecuador this academic school year. I am a Spanish Education major with an ESL minor. I have been studying Latino culture for a while now and learning the language for even longer. Although I am nervous, I am very excited to take this next step into my education and my learning and understanding of the Latin American culture and language. My primary goals for after college are to teach English to ESL learners. I want to travel abroad to South and Central America. After that, I plan to come back to the U.S. and teach the Spanish language and culture with a side of multicultural education.”

Taylor Patterson from University of Regina will study abroad at University of Eastern Finland in Finland.

“I am a third-year Psychology student at the University of Regina in Saskatchewan, Canada. I was born and raised in a rural town located in the Prairie Province of Saskatchewan. Although I enjoyed the quiet atmosphere of small town living during my childhood, I have always dreamed of travelling and discovering what the world has to offer outside of my hometown. During my teenage years, I had hoped to take a year off school and backpack across Europe after graduating High School. This idea was no longer feasible after I decided to try pursuing a career in Medicine, however. Upon discovering the ISEP program, I became ecstatic! The ISEP program will allow me to do the traveling I have longed for my entire life, while still achieving university credits. I will be mostly taking electives while I am at the University of Eastern Finland, along with a few psychology courses. Although leaving my hometown and living in another country for a semester is a daunting adventure, I know that the life experiences I will gain will make this opportunity worth it! I am incredibly grateful for the chance to immerse myself in another culture and discover the wonderful things that lie outside of my native country.”

Angela Pérez from Universidad Católica del Uruguay will study abroad at Eckerd College in Florida, United States.

“Since I was a child I loved to know a lot of things. When I grew up, I realized that I can use my curiosity to become a journalist and communicate to the people the things I discovered. I believe that as a journalism student, it is important to know many kinds of realities and cultures in order to be able to inform as objectively as possible. Also, to know different situations and ways of living makes it possible to be the voice for minorities, which don’t have it in the mass media. To go to Florida, U.S., to study abroad is an amazing opportunity to learn about another country, another language and knowing people from all over the world. Then, when I will come back to my country, Uruguay, I will be more prepared to finish my career as a better journalist with more communication tools to make our world a little more fair, at least from my place as a news maker.”

Thien An Pham from Macalester College will study abroad at University of Seoul in South Korea.

“Born and raised in Vietnam where diversity is lacking, I always dream of traveling to many places and exploring the culture. This encouraged me to attend Macalester College, my home institution, that highlights the importance of internationalism and multiculturalism. I meet wonderful friends here from different cultural backgrounds that I really appreciate. But my dream of learning about cultures doesn’t just stop here. I’m going to Seoul, South Korea as an opportunity to get out of my comfort zone and see what the world has to offer. I want to learn a new language other than Vietnamese and English as well as get to know Korean cuisine which I’ve always been passionate about. Korea is also close to my home Vietnam and my sister’s home Singapore so it’ll be easier to visit my family. I’m really excited about the upcoming adventure and I can’t wait to integrate myself in a new environment again.”

Anna Schmautz from University of Montana will study abroad at Al Akhawayn University in Morocco.

“After growing up and starting college in Montana, I wanted to experience the world outside of the mountainous state I called home. While I was growing up, I always had a passion about the history and culture of the Middle East. I had always found the Arabic language to be beautiful yet daunting. I began taking Arabic classes my freshman year of high school and never tuned back. This language captivated me enough to begin a long-term goal to become fluent in the Arabic language. I made the realization that to reach this goal I must study in the Arab world and fully immerse myself culturally. Studying Arabic within Morocco will help me gain exposure to the culture and to understand how to adapt in a new environment. This experience will help me attain one of my long-term goals and to further advance my education in STEM and Sociology.”

Rachel Wall from Carroll College will study abroad at Al Akhawayn University in Morocco.

“I am a studying English writing at Carroll College in Helena, Montana, and I am a non-traditional student because I spent five years active duty in the United States Marine Corps before I decided to earn my degree. While I was in the military, I traveled to several countries, but I didn’t have the opportunity to enjoy the diverse cultures I visited due to work. Now that I am studying abroad as a student I will have the chance to immerse myself into a new culture for an extended period where I could develop lifelong friendships and professional relationships, and I will surround myself around a foreign language where I would be forced to rely on any other language besides English. While I am studying in Ifrane, Morocco, I will study French and Arabic, and I plan to visit as many cities as possible during my semester abroad.”

Reana Young-Morrison from University of Vermont will study abroad at Universidad Católica del Norte in Chile.

“I am a junior in college and love the outdoors including mountaineering, hiking, climbing, sea kayaking, and river kayaking. My mom and hiked the Haute trip from Mt. Blanc to the Matterhorn (from Chamonix, France to Zermatt, Switzerland), one of the best hikes ever! I also enjoy learning languages and traveling. Most of my travels have been to lower income countries participating in service work such as construction of schools, potable water systems, medical centers, and informal education programs such as story hours, teaching English, and teaching preventative health practices. I also assist as a translator for medical groups and delegations in Nicaragua and on the U.S. and Mexico border studying immigration policy and impact. I attended school in Nicaragua for several years during primary school, Bhutan during middle school, and a semester in high school in Germany. During middle school I worked in Borneo at the Louis Leakey Orangutan Rehabilitation center, camped and hiked in Tasmania, and worked and hiked in Nepal. I am currently participating in a semester-long National Outdoor Leadership program in Patagonia, Chile. I have 5 siblings and grew up in Colorado, my mom a single mom. My family is very close having traveled and worked together. I play the violin and cello, took gymnastics for 11 years, and played soccer for 12. I enjoy baking and cooking, especially food from other cultures.”

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