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Meet the Winners of the 2021 USA Gap Year Fairs Scholarships!
At Go Overseas, we take pride in supporting students through scholarships to pursue international educational experiences. Each year, we offer one or more gap year scholarships to hopeful students planning gap time, and we have steadily increased the amount of scholarship funding with each fair series. With the challenges of 2020 inspiring us to innovate, we took the opportunity to make gap year planning more accessible than ever: not only through offering virtual fairs and a free gap year crash course (check out our thematic gap year webinar recordings!), but by offering over $15,000 in gap year scholarships!
Of course, this couldn’t be possible without our fantastic gap year providers and gap year counselors who participated in the 2021 series. Although we missed being able to connect with prospective gap year students and their families in high school gymnasiums and cafeterias across the country, we were thrilled to partner with these programs to offer 20+ free virtual events and award $15,000 in gap year funding. We opened the competition to US citizens at home and abroad, aged 14-25, who were planning gap time in 2021.
The first place, $10,000 award was sponsored by us at Go Overseas and awarded to the top applicant overall, and a second, $5,000 award was sponsored by Dynamy Internship Year and awarded to the top applicant in the state with the highest total number of applications. In order to make sure our winners were well-equipped to make the most of their gap time, each student will also receive in-kind gap year advising from a Gap Year Association accredited gap year counselor.
We sought to recruit students from across the country whose visions for their gap time were bold, inspirational, and empowering -- just like the decision to take a gap year. Applicants were asked to write a gap year manifesto outlining their plans for their gap time, and to submit a visual representation of their gap year dreams. Students' plans ranged from immersion in Spanish language and culture in Costa Rica to studying international politics in Australia and New Zealand, to volunteering with disaster relief in the US. We heard about our applicants’ creative pursuits, passions for social justice and environmentalism, and their desire to connect to a broader world.
It was an incredibly competitive process, but ultimately, we were able to narrow down our finalists (with help from a group of enthusiastic gap year alumni) to two outstanding winners. We couldn’t be more thrilled to support these winners in their gap year journeys!
Meet Mariama, winner of the $10,000 grand prize scholarship!
We sent Go Overseas team members Tracy and Brittany to Seattle to surprise Mariama with a giant check!
Mariama is weeks away from graduating from the University of Washington, and is planning gap time to immerse herself in experiential learning through dance, music, and visual arts across three continents. As a first-generation Guinean immigrant and one of the few Black students on her university’s campus, she has found inspiration and community through art and the Black Feminist Book Club and African Student Union that she leads.
“Art is resistance for the Black community; our rhythms and beats carry a pre-colonial history and tell stories of ancestors who are not defined by nation-state borders,” writes Mariama. With guidance from Marion Taylor of Taylor the Gap, she will spend time teaching and working as an au pair with InterExchange in France, then traverse West Africa and the Caribbean to explore how these cultures use artistic expression to preserve indigenous cultural practices.
Mariama’s application stood out from the hundreds reviewed by our team for her passion and creativity, and we are so inspired by her vision for her gap time. “I want to participate in this gap year because I believe we need more positive stories about the Black community,” she writes. “We need stories that not only emphasize our resilience but also our ability to heal and create.”
Meet Elisabet, winner of the $5,000 second prize scholarship!
Elisabet’s mentors and friends come together to help make her virtual scholarship surprise a moment to remember.
“Accessing higher education and international education changed my life forever,” says Elisabet, “and I know that it can impact the lives of so many other students out there, too.” With that mission in mind, Elisabet is working with gap year counselor Holly Bull of the Center for Interim Programs to plan an independent gap year focusing on an entrepreneurial project and an online course through GVI.
As a content creator, Elisabet will partner with higher education institutions and use social media to help students get informed and inspired to pursue experiential learning. With her experience working in the study abroad office at her undergraduate university and current internships in digital marketing, Elisabet is well-positioned to bridge international relationships and facilitate equitable access to educational resources for historically underrepresented and underserved students.
Of winning the scholarship, Elisabet says, “This gap time will not only benefit me, but it will benefit so many other students out there, forever echoing the message of just how transformational higher education and international education truly is for all students.” Go Overseas is proud to support Elisabet in her advocacy, and we can’t wait to see her project take off!
Additional gap year scholarships
Beyond the $15,000 in scholarships, we had so many incredible applicants that our participating gap year counselors and providers decided to award additional scholarship funds to the top applicants!
- Free gap year counseling, courtesy of EnRoute Consulting for Saadiyah Q.
- Free gap year counseling, courtesy of J2Guides for Samuel S.
- $500 scholarship, courtesy of EF Gap Year for Xandriah G.
- $500 scholarship, courtesy of EF Gap Year for Farrah S.
- $10,000 scholarship, courtesy of Verto Education for Anna C.
- $10,000 scholarship, courtesy of Verto Education for Somerville M.
Thanks to all the applicants who applied, and our partners for making this opportunity possible!
Congratulations, to all the gap year scholarship recipients!
If you’d like to stay up-to-date on funding opportunities for your own international adventures, check out our scholarship resource page to learn more about other scholarships we offer. We have a resource on gap year scholarships and grants that you might find helpful, too.
Thanks to all the applicants who applied, and our partners for making this opportunity possible!
Why You Should Attend The Forum on Education Abroad’s 2021 Annual Conference (Discount Included)
The Forum on Education Abroad’s 17th Annual Conference is a must-attend event in the field of education abroad, where leaders will virtually gather to consider the most important issues impacting international education.
17th Annual Conference Discount Code for Attendees
Like last year, the 17th Annual Conference will be held virtually on March 1-5, 2021. Use promo code GOOVERSEAS50 to receive $50 off your registration fee (it’s like registering at the Early Bird rate!). This code is available to all (no restrictions).
The Forum’s Annual Conference & Expo Registration Details
Here are the important dates to remember:
- Annual Conference registration is live now
- Regular Registration Deadline is February 19, 2021
- The last day you can use the Go Overseas discount code is February 28, 2021
- Registration closes on February 28, 2021
You can register up to the day before the event, and you can also use the discount code up to that point. But to make the most of your experience (and get the best pricing!), sign up today and start planning.
About The Forum on Education Abroad
The Forum is a 501(c)(3) non-profit, membership association recognized by the U.S. Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission as the Standards Development Organization (SDO) for the field of education abroad.
The Forum provides training and resources to education abroad professionals and its Standards of Good Practice are recognized as the definitive means by which the quality of education abroad programs may be judged. The Forum’s mission is to cultivate educators who champion high quality education abroad experiences that ignite curiosity, impact lives, and contribute to a better world.
The Forum’s 800+ institutional members include U.S. colleges and universities, overseas institutions, consortia, agencies, organizations, and foundations who are committed to improving education abroad.
4 Reasons to Attend The Forum’s 17th Annual Conference 2021
There are many reasons that should you take advantage of this discount code when you attend The Forum’s virtual Annual Conference next month -- here are four to get you started:
- Get the Latest Updates on the State of the Field
When it comes to navigating the challenges of COVID-19, know that The Forum is part of your support system. At the Annual Conference, we’ll discuss where we are and where do we go from here. Remember: We’re in it together. View the full schedule.
In conjunction with our 20th anniversary, The Forum will invite attendees to reflect on lessons learned in the past 20 years and look forward to what the next 20 will bring.
- Network with Fellow International Educators
Colleagues in the international education field: Now is a time come together -- even if that means virtually -- to knowledge share, to upskill, and to bond as a community.
At The Forum’s Annual Conference, you have the chance to spend quality time with friends new and old from across the globe. In addition to dynamic conference programming, The Forum is offering fun ways to gather the community together to connect and enjoy the sights and sounds of Boston, MA (which would have been our conference city this year), including a two-night wine and art tour, virtual team trivia, a virtual concert, as well as community connection opportunities and language lunchrooms.
- Choose from More than 50 Sessions Over 5 Conference Days
We want to let you in on a not-so-little secret -- did you know The Forum added an additional day to its Annual Conference format? That means you can engage and participate in more events to upskill and bring back valuable insights and information to your office.
- Enjoy the Same Conference Programming for a Fraction of the Cost & No Travel
Here’s another insider tip: When you register for the Annual Conference this year, you’re getting the same high-quality conference programming that has become expected of from The Forum, but for much, much less than an in-person conference. Add on the $50 off promo code GOOVERSEAS50, and it’s like you’re paying the Early Registration Fee. Then, add a travel budget of zero dollars, and you realize just how much value you’ll receive when you attend the Annual Conference.
Ready to register for the 17th Annual Conference?
Meet Ngozi & Erikah, the Winners of the 2020 Education in Ireland Study Abroad Scholarships
At Go Overseas, our mission is to “educate, inspire, and empower our global community to pursue perspective-changing experiences.” We get to help educate interested readers about traveling the world, connect people with program alumni and companies to help find the right opportunity for them, and every once in a while -- we get to change someone's life.
Of course, this couldn’t be possible without our fantastic partners at Education in Ireland and eight universities in Ireland. By joining together for the fourth time to give away over $15,000 in scholarships, Education in Ireland was excited not only to excite and delight the Go Overseas community about study abroad opportunities in Ireland, but also to make these opportunities more accessible. We sought to recruit students from across the country who would truly make the most of a study abroad experience: academically, recreationally, and by serving as an ambassador for meaningful travel at home and abroad.
To put it lightly, 2020 was a challenging year. This scholarship campaign was a fantastic opportunity to end the year on a high note: throughout the campaign, we saw submissions from students who wanted to trace their family’s roots back to Ireland, or students who had studied in Ireland before and wished to return. We read of students’ plans to read James Joyce in Dublin, to mingle with international students in Galway, to hop on a RyanAir flight for weekend getaways in Europe, and (somewhat optimistically) to kiss the Blarney Stone. This scholarship, and the confirmation that it’s still possible to study abroad in 2021, allowed students who were inspired and determined to immerse themselves in Irish culture to put their vision into action.
It might not seem like it, but the scholarship campaigns we run each year -- to encourage studying abroad in Ireland and New Zealand, as well as through our own scholarship program -- are a big project. Several members of the team work hard for weeks before, during, and after the campaign, putting in long hours to make it all possible.
There's one moment that makes all that hard work worth it: the surprise. Once we've received the applications, reviewed all the finalists, and chosen the winner, we would typically fly to that student's school and surprise them with a giant check. 2020 forced us to get creative, but one of our values is to #InnovateFearlessly, and we rose to the challenge.
This year, we connected with our two winners’ friends and family to organize remote surprises through Zoom. While we may have missed the opportunity for an impromptu cross-country trip, the energy of the surprise was not diluted by the long distance. And don’t worry--we mailed them the giant check.
Ngozi has an undergraduate degree in biology and an MSc student in Global Health and Development. She was selected from nearly 2,000 applicants to receive the prize of full tuition, a cost of living stipend of $14,000, and round trip airfare to pursue her Masters degree in Ireland.
In her application essay, Ngozi compared herself to Emma Nabiri, an Irish-Nigerian author, and wondered if the author would have imagined a Black American girl eagerly devouring her writing in her hometown of Dublin. “Truthfully, I did not imagine myself here,” wrote Ngozi.
Yet this is the natural momentum of her work. She will spend her days in Dublin studying Race, Migration, and Decolonial Studies, which, integrated with her background as a global health practitioner, will provide relevant insight into the COVID-19 crisis and its long-term effects. “As an emerging global health practitioner and public engagement team member for ‘Race and Health’,” writes Ngozi, “I have the advocacy tools to promote global health equity for all across different backgrounds.”
Erikah is an undergraduate student at the University of Pittsburgh studying business. Her application was selected from approximately 1,500 applicants to win the undergraduate study abroad award. Erikah will receive tuition for one semester at Trinity College Dublin in Ireland, in addition to a $7,000 living stipend and round trip airfare.
According to Erikah, she’s been a fighter ever since elementary school: ”a fighting Irish, to be exact,” she writes, referencing her elementary school mascot. She credits this persevering spirit with her decision to join the varsity football team in high school when the team was short on players, as well as her choice to attend college out of state.
“It was this mindset that enabled [me] to find [my] passion: emboldening [myself] and finding strength in strengthening others,” writes Erikah. By immersing herself in a new culture, she’ll have the opportunity to work towards her own goals and act as an advocate for her community.
Ngozi and Erikah’s strong applications and creative vision boards (pictured above) helped them stand out from the thousands of students who applied this year. Most notable was their evident dedication to maximizing their time abroad and paying forward what they learn. This commitment helped our team at Go Overseas and our partners at Education in Ireland feel confident that they will be fantastic ambassadors for Ireland for years to come.
Ngozi has already sought out community groups online to join the discourse with her peers in Ireland. She believes that “ambassadorial potential is often cultivated in and out of the classroom,” and adds, “I want to dialogue with my classmates as well as members of the larger Irish community about our shared experiences.”
“I believe that, to maximize your global impact, a rich cultural understanding is crucial,” adds Erikah in anticipation of her time abroad. “Studying abroad is one of the best ways a student can acquire global skills and expand their personal and professional network.”
Be sure to check out the video we made to document our socially-distant surprise!
Lastly, if you’d like to be in Ngozi’s and Erikah’s shoes in the future, check out our scholarship resource page to learn more about other scholarships we offer. We have a resource on study abroad scholarships and grants that you might find helpful, too.
Thanks to all the applicants who applied, and our partners: Education in Ireland, Dublin City University, Maynooth University, National University of Ireland - Galway, Trinity College Dublin, UCD Smurfit Business School, University College Cork, University College Dublin, and University of Limerick.