Scholarships take students around the world

Many college students wonder what their next steps will be once they graduate, but for Hanover senior Grace Stephenson and junior Anna Reno, two prestigious scholarship awards will teach them about a new culture and its language, as well as provide a great post-graduation career boost.

Stephenson, a psychology major,  has earned a one-year teaching assistantship through the Fulbright U.S. Student Program. The Greenfield, Ind., native will spend a year in Germany, teaching English at a school in either the regions of Bavaria, Baden-Wuertemberg or Hesse. The trip will be her fourth to the Deutsch Republic.

While she eventually would like to pursue a graduate degree in counseling and psychotherapy, Stephenson said the experience will give her ample opportunity to improve her German language skills, gain work experience and learn to live on her own in a foreign country.

“I think this year abroad will help me to decide what I want pursue and whether I want to pursue a career in America or in Germany,” she said. “I enjoy helping others learn a second language, whether it be German or English, so I think I will really enjoy getting classroom experience.”

Reno, an international studies major, will travel even farther, spending the 2013-14 academic year in Amman, Jordan, thanks to the David L. Boren Award for International Study. The Lafayette, Ind., native will take an intensive Arabic language program, with two classes each semester on topics ranging from the politics of the Middle East, women and Islam, and economics and the environment. 

Before her arrival, Reno will spend the summer interning at a refugee resettlement organization in Indianapolis, which she hopes to put to use helping with the refugee absorption issues facing Jordan.

“Because I need basic fluency in Arabic before my goals are possible, learning Arabic is my primary goal at the moment,” said Reno. “I hope to work in Jordan for several years after the program for a nonprofit or government agency, and then attend graduate school at either the American University in Cairo or Beirut for Middle Eastern studies … I want to be a part of improving the United States’ relationship with Jordan and the way it interacts with other Arab countries. Everything else is up in the air.”

The Boren scholarship requires Reno to work for the federal government for at least one year, in a position with national security responsibilities from a broadly defined spectrum. She hopes to fulfill that commitment with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) in Jordan.

Established in 1946, the Fulbright scholarship is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government and designed to promote international understanding. Chosen for their academic merits and leadership potential, students gain the opportunity to study, teach or conduct research, helping to find solutions to shared worldwide concerns.

Funding for the multi-level Boren scholarship comes from the National Security Education Program. Sponsored by the Institute of International Education, the award go to U.S. students to study abroad in areas of the world that are critical to the country’s interests and often underrepresented, such as Africa, Central and Eastern Europe, Eurasia, Latin America and the Middle East.