Meet the Fall 2019 ISEP Scholarship Recipients

May 15, 2019

ISEP is thrilled to congratulate the 9 recipients of our ISEP Community Scholarship and one winner of the 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.

ISEP Founders Fellowship Award Recipient

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

Esha Clements from Agnes Scott College in the U.S. will study abroad at Vesalius College in Belgium.

“I am from a mixed, Indian and American, heritage. My father only speaks English, while my mother speaks seven languages. I only spoke English at home. When I got to middle school the opportunity to study French was laid at my feet; I could not accept it quick enough. I have been studying French ever since, though I never quite reached fluency. While abroad, I aim to become fluent in a language that I love through courses and a home-stay. I will finally have others with which to practice. I will also be studying some economics and law to help me reach another goal, to become a lawyer. I aim to aid those around the globe, and through learning French I can eliminate another barrier between where I am now and helping those I can in the future.”

ISEP Community Scholarship Award Recipients

These awards of US$500 will be used toward study abroad programs next semester (Northern Hemisphere Fall 2019).

Rhianna Becker from Nebraska Wesleyan University in the U.S. will study abroad at Université de Franche-Comté in France.

“I have always been fascinated by languages. Growing up in Lincoln, Nebraska, I had little exposure to non-English languages, let alone attempt to learn one. Naturally, I immediately enrolled into French classes when I was given the opportunity in high school. My language education continued in college and grew into my second major. Throughout my years at Nebraska Wesleyan University, I have been fortunate enough to pursue my interests as a Biology/Pre-Medicine and Modern Language student, and now pursue the opportunity to experience another culture first-hand at the Université de Franche-Comté. While in Besançon, France, I will be taking courses outside of my primary majors. Instead, I will be studying the humanities in order to complete my minor in Religion and Philosophy. By moving out of my comfort zone, I plan to not only improve my French language skills, but also learn to view the world from a new perspective.”

Allie Boyd from University of Southern Indiana in the U.S. will study abroad at Ewha Womans University in South Korea.

“I am from a rural area in central Indiana and a first-generation college student pursuing a double major in graphic design and illustration. Growing up in a small town, I was only taught to speak English. Within the last year I have begun independently studying Korean. I believe learning a language is one of the best ways to begin understanding another culture. While I am abroad at Ewha Womans University I will be taking Korean courses and art related courses not offered at my home institution. My education has taught me about understanding and appealing to American Aesthetics; However, this will provide me with a good base in terms of understanding cultural aesthetics and how they can drastically influence Art and Design. Along with improving my language skills, my main goal of going abroad is to grow mentally and creatively as I pursue a career as a designer.”

Zoe Gonzalez from San Diego State University in the U.S. will study at TIO University of Applied Sciences in the Netherlands.

“My family history, career, major & philosophy influenced my decision to study in Amsterdam. I have grown up in with a Mexican background in San Diego. But, my ancestors and great grandparents, and my grandfather are from Holland, meaning I have Dutch in my blood! My Grandfather who recently passed away, promised me and my mother he would take us to Amsterdam to experience where our family is from, and visit the free real Dutch culture he believed in. My acceptance to the ISEP Netherlands program was a surprise to my Mother, a legacy to my Grandpa’s promise. I have an excitement for learning and adapting to unfamiliar situations, and I think it comes from my social personality and observant curiosities. I am excited to make friends from all over the world, and bond with family that still remains in that region of the world. Being from San Diego, I already have a liberal and relaxed attitude. I’ve been told by many that visited and family I’ve met, I’ll just fit right in. That’s what gets me most excited, hearing others experiences and how they are excited for me to see the beauty of the world.”

Minji Ju from Keimyung University in South Korea will study abroad at Whitworth University in the U.S.

“My native language is Korean, and I have been learning English for several years. Though, I still have difficulty in expressing my opinion in English. Before attending Keimyung University, I had a hard time. After quitting high school, I passed the GED. But I didn’t know what to do. I lost myself for a long time. At that time, I met a counselor and I could change myself thanks to her help. I decided to study again at university because I couldn’t give up studying, and I wanted to make a big change in me. So I took the college entrance exam and started my university life. I tried to do many things not just study. I joined a debate club and I was an executive of a music club. I did volunteer work, too. I was a mentor of a child who was a victim of child sexual abuse. I learned a lot from it. At my home institution, Keimyung University, I am studying psychology and education. When I go abroad, I will take courses in psychology not offered at my home university. Also, I will take courses in English including intercultural education and biology. Especially I want to learn how to consider cultural differences in education in the U.S., which is a big multicultural nation, because my home country is also getting multicultural, recently. The goal of being abroad is to be fluent in English and to broaden my perspective on different cultures.”

Melissa Patik from Missouri State University in the U.S. will study abroad at University of Seoul in South Korea.

“My personal story is very much one of overcoming challenges and hardships. My hardships started when I was born with a disability called a “club-foot.” I had surgery to fix it, but I would have less muscle, balance, and movement in my leg/foot for the rest of my life. I would have to find new ways to walk, that was different from other people, and it would affect how long I would be able to be on my feet causing a problem when I started working. This made money extremely tight for me. However, this disability gave me the skills to work hard and the dedication to find new and creative ways of dealing with new challenges. No one in my family has gone to college before me, so the pressure to succeed was enormous. My family, my grandparents, aunts, and brother, have been so supportive and I am forever grateful. Being a double major in Global Studies, with an emphasis in language and culture, and a Korean major, which I have been studying for two years now, along with seeking a CELTA certification makes each semester particularly challenging. I will be studying abroad in Seoul, South Korea to further my Korean language and culture studies. While I am not fluent in Korean currently, nowhere near close if I am honest, I hope to increase my fluency while focusing solely on learning the language, culture, and history of Korea in the academic year that I am there. During my last semester, I will be preparing to graduate that semester and finding a career in the country.”

Hajar Serrhini Naji from Al Akhawayn University in Morocco will study abroad at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale in the U.S.

“I’m from Morocco, a country in the northwest of Africa. I was born and raised in Fes, a city known for its rich history and tradition. My native language is Arabic, but I also speak French and English fluently. I love traveling and discovering other cultures, and I hope that while studying at Southern Illinois University, I will have the chance to travel around and see new places. Going on exchange to a US university compensates for a dream I had when I was in high school. I play Basketball since a very young age (I was on the national team) and I wanted to pursue my studies at a U.S. university because their way of combining sports and academics attracted me and many coaches advised me to do so. SUI was also a good choice for me since they are offering a variety of courses related to my thematic area; water resources and environment. I learnt that travelling is the best way to learn about a new culture. Meeting people from different backgrounds and believes makes you develop critical thinking, creates tolerance and breaks stereotypes. I also want to go abroad to live a small part of my childhood dream and play basketball in the U.S.”

Megi Shehu from Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore in Italy will study abroad at California State University, San Marcos in the U.S.

“I was born in Albania and, when I was 5 years old, my family and I moved to Brescia, Italy. Italian, as well as Albanian, is my mother tongue: thanks to my bilingualism I have simply improved my knowledge in other languages such as English, German and Spanish. I’m a Political Sciences and International Relations student. As well as a university student, I am also a Red Cross volunteer and a hard worker: I have done different jobs such as Hostess, Promoter, Receptionist, Shop Assistant, so that I could afford my studies economically. I’m the first of my family that is attending university, though they’ve supported me emotionally since the beginning. The greatest satisfaction will be to see my parents’ happiness, who brought me to Italy for a better condition of life, looking at me while I’ll take my steps alone crossing the world. Being abroad is significant for a student that is attending a field of study like mine, because I will be able to have a new point of view of the world, that California State University San Marcos will certainly be able to give to me.”

Elizabeth Tomter from Western Washington University in the U.S. will study abroad at Université de Nantes in France.

“I was born and raised in Alaska. I lived in a small town called Nome with about 3,000 people for the first 10 years of my life. The education curriculum at my elementary school attempted to teach us Inupiaq, my Indigenous Alaska Native language. However, the curriculum was underfunded so I was never able to become fluent in my Indigenous language, but I can still understand some things when I listen to my elders conversing. In the 7th grade I moved from Nome to Eagle River, Alaska. The middle school I went to there was the first school that I attended that actually had foreign language classes. I was instantly interested in French and took it all throughout middle school and a year in high school. Now I plan on majoring in both English and French so I can teach them to high school students. While studying abroad I will be continuing to learn the French language and culture in order to help me reach my goal of majoring in French!”

Sam Vivegnis from Philipps-Universität Marburg in Germany will study abroad at University of Alaska Southeast in the U.S.

“As a trans person I had to face a lot of challenges until I felt comfortable with who I am. I grew up in an environment, where everybody else treated me as a girl. I was always the outsider, the loner. That changed shortly before I turned 17, when I had my coming out – and I embarked on a journey that I am still on. A journey of being myself and living the best life I possibly can. Nobody thought the quiet kid would decide to go into social work and enjoy the outdoors. But here I am – going abroad to with ISEP to study at the University of Alaska Southeast! This will be the first time I’ll leave Europe, and I can’t wait for it to start. I have been accepted into the Outdoor Skills & Leadership Certificate by UAS, and I’m excited about all the adventures to come…”

About the Awards

Since its inception in 1979, ISEP has been committed to facilitating increased access to academic and cross-cultural learning opportunities for students through its worldwide membership network of higher education institutions. The ISEP Community Scholarships and the ISEP Founders Fellowship strengthen the core of that integral mission statement by providing students with the resources to overcome financial and academic barriers to study abroad.

ISEP Community Scholarship:

The ISEP Community Scholarship supports our mission of extending access and affordability of study abroad.

Recipients of this award are chosen by members of the ISEP community and selection is based upon their responses to prompts for a financial statement of need and a personal essay.

ISEP Founders Fellowship:

ISEP Founders Fellows demonstrate a passion for language learning while studying abroad. This individual is dedicated to learning and improving their ability to speak, read and understand another language.

Founders Fellows believe living, studying and engaging in another culture will inform and broaden their perspectives, which will allow them to have an even greater understanding of the language they are learning.

ISEP extends a warm congratulations to all award recipients!

Like this Story? Also like us on Facebook.

News & Events