Awards make study abroad possible

The deadline for spring 2003 study abroad programs is Oct. 1.

Increased availability of scholarships for Study Abroad and accommodating UM tuition policies elicit little cost and great benefit to international study; a student could practically study in any country in the world at a cost similar to the same term in Miami.

“Any student who does participate in semester programs [abroad] maintains enrollment status, and academic scholarships are still applicable,” noted Chris Tingue, Assistant Director of Study Abroad and International Education and Exchange Programs (IEEP).

In short, this means if you pay your tuition here, and another student pays his tuition there, the two of you simply exchange locations. A semester at UM, then, is as valuable as a semester at the Universidad de Alicante in Spain, Sophia University in Tokyo or the American University of Paris, excepting related travel and living expenses that vary by program.

Several non-UM funded scholarship opportunities are detailed on the IEEP website. Generally, a student must be nominated by the IEEP office to be considered nationally for such awards.

The Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program offers US citizen students who are currently receiving federal Pell Grants competitive awards for study abroad. The award’s purpose, to “expand opportunities for study abroad for students whose demonstrated financial need might otherwise preclude them from such an experience,” promotes diverse participation and encourages travel to non-traditional locations.

As with most awards, early application is recommended because advisors from IEEP and Financial Aid must complete sections of the application. The Gilman award is especially competitive; for fall 2002 study, over 10 UM students applied, and only two were awarded scholarships.

David L. Boren scholarships, funded by the National Security Education Program (NSEP), are available primarily for non-traditional areas of study abroad, such as Asia, Latin America, Africa and Eastern Europe.

This award is also very competitive, contains a foreign language component and service requirement and encourages recipient students “to become integrally involved in global issues.”

The Freeman-ASIA Awards contribute to study in areas such as Hong Kong, Singapore, and Japan. A service requirement to promote study abroad in Asia on the UM campus seems only fair in return for generous charity to a student’s education and cultural wisdom.

Last year, the Rotary Foundation’s Ambassadorial Scholarships, the world’s largest privately funded international scholarship program, awarded more than 1,100 students nationwide the chance to be educated anywhere in the world. While abroad, scholars serve as ambassadors of education and goodwill to the people of the host country and present their knowledge of their homeland to local groups. Upon returning home, scholars again share their experiences that led to greater understanding of their host countries.

Limited travel grant funding, derived from a very generous local benefaction, has always been fairly competitive and is even more limited now, as a glut of eager travelers desire to take advantage of available resources.

Most heavily considered in awarding small grants are recent academic records and financial need. GPAs must now be over 3.0, and amounts range from $250 summer stipends to $2000 for a semester.

If you’ve noticed that side-note on your transcript alleging that your last 45 credits must be taken “in residence,” worry not: UM international exchange programs are still categorized as “in residence,” as students do maintain enrollment status at their home school.

For additional information on Study Abroad Programs stop by the IEEP office in Allen Hall 212 (behind the Memorial Classroom Building), or visit