USAC’s new Access, Equity, and Inclusion Scholarship offers funding to students in “underrepresented” categories — such as ethnically/racially diverse students, first-generation college students, LGBTQ+ students, and more — in order to help make study abroad more affordable and more accessible to everyone.
This summer, four students were awarded the Access, Equity, and Inclusion Scholarship based on their standout applications and inspiring study abroad goals. Keep reading to hear from each of our scholarship recipients about their plans for study abroad and why this scholarship is important to them.
Tera is studying Buddhist Psychology and Thai Language at Chiang Mai University in Chiang Mai, Thailand.
I chose to study abroad because it’s a great feat to accomplish for a young, single mother like myself. Studying abroad was merely a dream that I was dedicated to making a reality. I believe studying abroad was a good decision because it will broaden my reality and diversify my perspectives when interacting with people and new cultures. Being in the field of psychology and Deaf studies, it is immensely important that I maintain a diverse mindset because I will be constantly interacting with diverse groups of people. My first goal while studying abroad is to immerse myself into the culture by visiting temples, attending campus and community events, and visiting local markets. My second goal is to get out of my comfort zone and experience things I’ve never been able to experience before like cliff jumping, conversing with a monk, etc. My final goal is to leave Thailand with a great appreciation and understanding for the culture as well as a broadened view of the human psyche.
This scholarship is important to me because it made what I thought was a fairytale a reality. Financial barriers have been a common reason for me missing opportunities, but thanks to this scholarship, I am able to achieve what I thought was unachievable. I am now able to show my son that the world is bigger than little old Cincinnati, Ohio and that anything is possible if you work hard enough. I believe the phrase “Access, Equity, and Inclusion” means that finances shouldn’t be a barrier to experiencing a new culture. Some people have the work ethic and right mindset, but our background may hold us back from fulfilling our full potential. “Access, equity, and inclusion” means to allow those who can, to do.
Maricarmen Palomares Garcia
Maricarmen is studying Python Programming, Race, and Law at Yonsei University in Seoul, Korea.
I chose to study abroad because I find it is necessary to learn about different cultures to achieve my career goals. I want to one day be a civil servant for international nonprofit organizations with missions relating to providing aid post disasters to damaged areas and vulnerable populations. Studying abroad will provide me with a self-awareness that will help me in the future provide assistance in such a manner that is respectful of the local culture and customs. While studying abroad I hope to gain a new perspective of the world regarding how individuals interact in different countries in relation to one another and how I can be of assistance. I also plan to learn practical skills and tips on how to learn a new language and how to navigate language barriers to establish trust within individuals.
The Access, Equity, and Inclusion Scholarship is very valuable for me as it has allowed me to study abroad with a new sense of relief from financial burdens. It is important as it supports and encourages individuals like me to study abroad when we did not see this as a feasible goal. As a minority and first-generation student, access, equity, and inclusion is very important as many of my peers, including myself, continue to fight to tip the statistics of a lack of educational attainment and even greater lack of international educational opportunities. These words are very important as we create paths for one another to we partake in opportunities such as studying abroad. I am very proud to have been selected as a recipient of this scholarship and to have the ability to study abroad because for many students like me, it is not a possibility.
Brian is studying Korean at Yonsei University in Seoul, Korea.
Study abroad has been one of my goals since I entered college. Flexibility is a skill that I would like to develop as a 21st-century engineer. An ever-changing landscape requires professionals to adapt, and problems solve more than ever before. A global economy with shifting markets allows for better cost-effectivity and sharing of technology can lead to breakthroughs. I would like to be part of that positive change. I plan to network in my future study abroad and internship abroad programs. I would like to create lasting professional bonds so that we can collaborate on future projects soon.
This scholarship represents a tangible recognition of my hard work and dedication to my career. Many students would not have the opportunity to study abroad were it not for scholarships such as the USAC Access, Equity, and Inclusion Scholarship. This scholarship will allow me to focus more of my time and energy into studying and having an impact on the country that I am visiting. I will not have to worry as much about having a livable wage to advance my studies in this critical time of my life.
Access, equity, and inclusion means allowing students from all walks of life to broaden their views of the world and connect with people they would not have had the chance to meet. People that create change come from different backgrounds and situations in life that might stagnate their development. Giving incentives to underprivileged people allows for them to grow to their fullest potential.
Atziri is studying health and wellness at Chiang Mai University in Chiang Mai, Thailand.
The excitement of visiting new places, discovering new cultures, and meeting new people motivate me to study abroad. I made the decision to study abroad because I want to travel, broaden my cultural knowledge, gain a greater understanding of the world, and work on my personal development. I have selected USAC because it offers a curriculum and experiences that positively impact students. As a pre-med student, the Traditional Thai Medicine Course that is offered through this program will help me learn about Traditional Thai Medicine and will give me a different perspective of medicine. My career goal is to become a doctor, participating in this study abroad program will help me become a well-rounded individual and thus, a better doctor.
For me, the Access, Equity, and Inclusion Scholarship offered through USAC is a barrier breaker. As a first-generation, low-income student, I did not think that studying abroad would be possible, as I could not afford the expenses that studying abroad implied. With this scholarship, I am able to join the small percentage of first-generation students who study abroad, thus, breaking the barriers that are so often stopping groups who have been historically excluded from studying abroad, such as first-generation students like myself. Therefore, to me, access means to facilitate equitable study abroad opportunities for underrepresented groups, equity means the removal of barriers that prevent underrepresented students from studying abroad, and inclusion is the result of both access and equity; or in other words, ensuring equitable access to study abroad opportunities and resources for groups who might otherwise be excluded.