Scholarships to see the world

Scholarships to see the world

To study abroad, to experience another culture, raises student awareness of the opportunities and challenges they will face as adults in our connected world. Research shows the positive impact of study abroad experiences, especially for first generation students.  But first gens need scholarships to see the world.

To assist first generations students as they explore creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship through global travel, Knowledge Without Borders established the Knowledge Without Borders Nourish to Flourish Scholarship program in 2013. Two students from Edgewood College in Madison, Wisconsin were the first recipients of the scholarship in 2014. They used the scholarships to support their study and community service in Arequipa, Peru.

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Students worked with women in the community to plant a “food forest.”

One young woman, Micalah, chose Arequipa because she is a Spanish and nursing major. She was able to improve her Spanish fluency and work in a health center serving the poor in the Alto Cayma district of Arequipa, assisting in the delivery of babies. “I got to take part in the delivery of two babies!  The feeling was indescribable!” Micalah noted that the experience led her to think about how culture informs attitudes toward birth and infancy, something she now considers as an essential component to nursing in the United States.

I got to take part in the delivery of two babies!  The feeling was indescribable! — Micalah

The second student, Jacqueline, is a Spanish major who used the Knowledge Without Borders Nourish to Flourish Scholarship to pay travel expenses to Peru. Her experiences in Alto Cayma caused her to think differently about the nuances of language and culture, which will help her become a better Spanish teacher in a connected world. What affected her most, Jacqueline noted, was the realization that many cultures exist within Peru itself.  That insight made her think about how she will approach teaching “Spanish” in the 21st century.  Spanish is not about just Spain or Mexico.  It is a gateway into a myriad of cultures never addressed in a typical American classroom.

I’m not sure how I would have got there without the (scholarship) help. — Jacqueline

Both students took part in a community project to create a “food forest.”  A food forest is a gardening technique designed to produce high yields of food with little maintenance. The technique makes use of native plants and local wisdom to produce food from edible trees, shrubs, plants and vines. Food forests empower the poor to produce their own food.  Sometimes locals can sell surplus food for cash.

In Alto Cayma, a poor community consisting primarily of single mothers and children from many mountain cultures, the food forest not only serves as a source for food, but also a way to build community.  Students worked with community members, integrating local wisdom with innovative agricultural techniques.

Micalah and Jacqueline report that scholarships enabled them to study and serve in Alto Cayma, an experience that changed their lives. But most college financial aid packages do not include funding for study abroad. Giving first generation students the opportunity to explore the world can yield multiple benefits such as self-confidence, engagement and empowerment.

Author

Karen Collias

My name is Karen Collias and I founded Knowledge Without Borders™ to infuse creativity and innovation into the most salient educational issues affecting contemporary society. I attribute my enthusiasm to cross the borders of traditional knowledge domains to the multi-disciplinary nature of my education and professional experience. The first in my family to go to college, I have a Ph.D. from Columbia University in political science with a specialization in comparative educational systems. My professional experience includes teaching at Princeton University, serving as deputy director of the Smithsonian Institution’s Science Education Center, policy analyst at the U.S. Department of State, and an editor at USA TODAY. Current research interests are first generation college students and innovations in STEM education.

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