By J.K. Devine
University of North Georgia (UNG) junior Uriyah Davis wants to study abroad to complete her minor in Spanish and immerse herself in a foreign culture. UNG sophomore Phillip Ly needs to study abroad to earn his degree in strategic and security studies as he aspires to be fluent in Japanese.
Both will have that chance in fall 2020 or spring 2021 thanks to a couple of scholarships. After they both won the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship earlier this year, Davis and Ly won the Fund for Education Abroad (FEA) scholarship in late March.
Dr. Anastasia Lin, vice president of research and engagement at UNG, said they are the first two UNG students to win the national scholarship. Nationwide, only 124 students won the honor this year, she said.
“We are elated that Uriyah and Phillip have become UNG’s first two Fund for Education Abroad winners,” she said. “Their persistence in pursuing multiple scholarship opportunities demonstrates that hard work can pay off in dividends. Students may not win the first or even second scholarship they apply for, but every application helps them toward success on the next opportunity.”
Lin explained FEA will allow students to defer the funding through summer 2021 to accommodate travel restrictions because of COVID-19. The Gilman scholarship program, which is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Afairs and implemented by the Institute of International Education, allowed deferments, too.
Ly said while his summer study abroad has been canceled, his fall 2020 program is on track. The 19-year-old from Forest Park, Georgia, is looking forward to experiencing the Japanese culture first-hand.
“I am interested in the culture and traditions,” Ly said. “Modern Japan also fascinates me because of its innovation. The country balances innovation and tradition at the same time. I think that’s really cool.”
The member of UNG’s Corps of Cadets and Georgia Army National Guard also can’t wait to speak Japanese on a daily basis and become proficient. Ly said his goal is to work in the State Department or be a translator for the military.
Davis, who is pursuing a kinesiology degree, believes being fluent in Spanish will give her an edge in graduate school and the job market. Therefore, she plans to take advantage of a study abroad, which would not be possible without the FEA and Gilman scholarships.
“These scholarships mean the world to me, because I am becoming an example for my little brother,” said the 20-year-old from Bainbridge, Georgia. “My whole journey to college and to win these scholarships show him if you work hard and are determined, you can achieve anything.”
Students interested in learning more about nationally competitive scholarships, including Gilman or FEA, should contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. Students interested in learning about study abroad opportunities through various programs may visit UNG’s Center for Global Engagement.