Past Scholarship Winners

Alicia Cotsoradis

2016 New Zealand Scholarship Winner
2016 New Zealand Scholarship

Below is the winning essay and photo submission for the 2016 study abroad in New Zealand scholarship by for Alicia Cotsoradis of DePauw University. Read her entry and see why she stood out to us!

Why do you want to study abroad in New Zealand?

While it might seem like a sterile white operating room, and a lush, organic green country have little in common, for me they do. For me both of these places hold the opportunities and hopes for my future. They serve as vesicles for self exploration, and they create an energy that makes the hair on the back of my neck stand and my heart race. I want adventure that gives me the same rush as I feel when I’m in the operating room, and this is why I chose New Zealand. I have spent most of my life in either Kansas or Indiana, and the thought of flying half way across the world scares me in the most amazing way possible. My heart beats so fast thinking about entering a brand new country alone, but when my heart beats, I hear the rhythm of the haka. When I start to jitter with nerves, I see calming blues and greens and vast fields and mountains that are dying to be captured in a sketch book. And when I wonder if I will be lonely, I question how I can be lonely when I am surrounded by such a full culture.

I am a junior biochemistry major with my heart set on eventually being a doctor. Every Tuesday I wake up at 6 am so I can hurry to the hospital to see the best surgeries. I have seen a man’s chest get opened and his aortic valve replaced right in front of me. I have seen facial reconstructive surgeries and appendectomies, and with every surgery I become more reassured that this is what I want to do with my life. I chose to study abroad in order to eventually make me a better doctor. My patients will have such a large array of backgrounds, and during this semester abroad I want to work to know cultures other than my own so I can better my empathy skills and set myself up for success. I want to live in a flat with not only international students, but also local people so we can merge our cultures and learn to respect and embrace other perspectives. I want to be challenged during these five months, and I want to be uncomfortable because ultimately, life is not always easy.

Specifically, I chose New Zealand because it represents a culture of imagination and an appreciation for all things beautiful. Between the incredible scenery, the love for adventure, and a culture based on long standing traditions, New Zealand holds all the elements necessary for me to explore myself and merge my science background with more hands on skills that will help me later in life. In New Zealand, I can imagine the time disappearing just as it does in the operating room. I want to let myself get lost in the beauty of this country and I want to come away from this experience with a broader appreciation for the Maori culture.

My life has always been structured and has consisted of constantly working towards my potential career, and while I love this, I fear as I progress down this very structured path, I will lose the passion for this rigorous lifestyle I once had. New Zealand provides an opportunity to slide down sand dunes, surf, and partake in so many other activities that create the same rush of excitement as watching a body get restored on the operating room table. I want to trade in the minutes spent reflecting while I scrub into a surgery for minutes spent reflecting when I hop on a train and watch the beautiful New Zealand scenery pass me by. I want to trade in the hours spent watching the artful cutting of a surgeon for hours spent hiking through rivers and hills. And I want to trade in the adventure I find in the OR for the vast adventure I know I can find in New Zealand. I have spent the last years cultivating my scientific knowledge and preparing myself for the academic side of being a doctor, but I want to spend these 5 months in New Zealand increasing my appreciation for diverse cultures and beautiful landscapes all the while mimicking the thrill of the operating room with the thrill of countless adventures in an unknown land.

Watch Alicia's Reaction to Winning the 2016 Scholarship!

Colin Murchison

2015 New Zealand Scholarship Winner
2015 New Zealand Scholarship

Below is the winning essay and photo submission for the 2015 study abroad in New Zealand scholarship by Colin Murchison of the University of Arkansas. Read his entry and see why he stood out to us!

Why do you want to study abroad in New Zealand?

Please let me begin the narrative of why I desire to study abroad in New Zealand by expressing who I am and where I come from. Born and raised in the beautiful state of Colorado, my parents epitomized the term “home bodies.” This meant I didn’t do a lot of traveling growing up, for we would just go into the mountains for a couple days if we wanted a vacation. I didn’t see the ocean until I was 18, and I grew to resent this lifestyle, as I have always desired to explore other places and cultures.

In maturing over the last few years, I get why my parents treated travel the way they did, and that’s because of money. I consider myself incredibly lucky, I have two loving parents who have always been great emotional anchors and support systems for me, and I even look at the financial hurdles we faced as positives. After my father was laid of and couldn’t find another job for a couple years, we really learned what’s important in life. My dad, the single most inspiring person in my life, was able to spend every single day with my siblings and I. Even though we didn’t have nice cars or a new home, we had two parents who were very active in our childhoods.

I went to a pretty rough high school west of Denver, and through baseball I was able to learn and appreciate cultures that I had no previous experience with, because we had a very diverse team. This inspired me to pursue culture, and influenced my decision to go to the school in an area I felt was opposite of Colorado, so I packed my bags and went to the University of Arkansas. For the same reasons that I decided to leave a state that I loved for one I thought would be completely contrasting is the reason I want to pursue education in New Zealand.

I believe that challenging myself with moving to new places and learning from new cultures is vital to my interpersonal development and education. New Zealand would be a great step towards a life of exploring this beautiful world we live in and the brilliantly different cultures mother earth nurtures. I am a lover of nature, and an admirer of this planet, and New Zealand boasts some of the most awe-inspiring terrain humans will encounter. I would cherish the opportunity to experience this, in the most sustainable way, first hand.

Although I would be gaining an immense amount from studying in New Zealand, this trip isn’t just about what it can do for me, but more for what I can do for New Zealand. I would explore and commit to as many community development and environmental sustainability volunteer projects as possible. The privilege to learn from the culture and ecosystem of New Zealand isn’t something I would not take lightly or for granted. I vow that, if I’m financially able to study abroad, I will do as much as possible while I’m there to give back to the people and to the environment, making my ecological footprint as small as possible whilst simultaneously making my community outreach as large as possible.

Throughout college, I have tried to study abroad multiple times, but unfortunately every attempt has ended with me not being able to afford the program. Since the last time I was signed up for a New Zealand program and ended up not putting together enough money to go, I promised myself I would do anything I can to make it happen next time. In an attempt to study abroad, I have worked hard (while volunteering as well), saved money, and lived as minimalistic as possible, even not having a car for two years of college.

Unfortunately, I am still quite a bit short on funds and need help to turn this dream into a reality. If given this scholarship, I will make it worth every penny, as I will grow personally and intellectually, but also give back and earn the opportunity to spend a semester in this beautiful country.

Watch Colin's Reaction to Winning the 2015 Scholarship!

Emma Faucher

2014 New Zealand Scholarship Winner
2014 New Zealand Scholarship

The first ever winner of the Go Overseas Study Abroad in New Zealand Scholarship was Emma Faucher of Castleton State College in Vermont. Read her essay, which answered "why do you want to study abroad in New Zealand?" and take a look at her photo submission to see why Emma's application caught our eye.

Once you're done, follow Emma's adventures on leaving to study in New Zealand.

Reason 1: Stunning Scenery

When I was younger my dad started getting into photography, which influenced me to start taking pictures. As my appreciation for photography grew, so did my love for scenery. I find myself looking for the most beautiful places to go and take pictures, one of which happens to be New Zealand.

I would love to have the opportunity to experience the stunning scenery of New Zealand first hand and take gorgeous pictures to share with my family and friends and cherish for the rest of my life. I would love to go to the glow worm caves in Waitomo, New Zealand because they are unlike anything I have ever seen before. Another place I plan on going to is Lake Wakatipu in Glenorchy. I have never seen single trees in the middle of a lake before and it just seems so peaceful there. There is such an abundance of purely wild nature in New Zealand and I plan on soaking up as much of it as possible.

Reason 2: Indigenous Culture

I have only travelled overseas once, but when I did I realized that I need personal experiences in order to really understand and appreciate culture. For as long as I can remember I have been the type of student who learns better with hands-on activities. Therefore, there is no better way to study the indigenous culture of New Zealand than to experience it as directly as possible.

Maori culture seems extremely compelling, especially since it is over 1000 years old and still kept very much alive today. I have seen some artwork done by Maori people in pictures and the designs are gorgeous. I am excited to learn about what each design means exactly (by a person of Maori descent instead of the Internet). I also find it interesting that Maori people describe themselves by their tribe (iwi), sub-tribe (hapu), mountain (maunga), and river (awa). New Zealand's Maori culture is one of the things I look forward to learning about when I am overseas so I can further educate people in Vermont.

Reason 3: Outdoor Activities

Growing up in New England I was fortunate enough to experience a wide variety of outdoor activities, resulting in a great appreciation for nature. I feel the most in-tune with myself when I'm outside appreciating wildlife and would love the opportunity to do that at Milford Sound. Milford Sound has the best of both worlds with an array of hikes in Fiordland National Park and kayaking with tour guides to point out natural features such as Pembroke Glacier.

I plan on taking advantage of all the amazing activities Wellington Ocean Sports has to offer, especially waka ama. I would also value skiing some of the mountains in Christchurch, Mount Cook Mackenzie, and Queenstown. I am bless to be able to witness all four seasons each year but would cherish the opportunity to experience seasons in a different environment than I am used to. I would love to be able to go for a bike ride or run in shorts and a tank top while admiring a snowy white mountaintops in the near distance in New Zealand.

Reason 4: Sporting Events

My first year at Castleton State College I joined the rugby team. I had regularly been involved in sports prior to this but had never even seen rugby played before my first game. I quickly fell in love with the sport and began researching professional teams. I learned that the All Blacks are the only international team with a winning record against any team they have ever played. The All Blacks are loved by their fans because they work hard to achieve their goals and they play the game fairly.

It would be amazing to be able to watch an All Blacks game live and see their tactics in person. I feel as thought it would be an honor to say I have been to an All Blacks game. It would be awesome to play rugby in New Zealand, but I also want to make sure I have time for exploring. Regardless if I play on a team or not I still will seek out rugby players to get tips. I hope to be able to learn new strategies and techniques from native New Zealanders to bring back to Vermont and teach my team.

Watch Emma's Reaction to Winning the 2014 Scholarship!

Celina Jaffe

2016 Ireland Undergrad Scholarship Winner
2016 Ireland Scholarship #1

Paulette Matuk

2016 Ireland Masters Scholarship Winner
2016 Ireland Scholarship #2

Why Do You Want to Study Abroad in Ireland?

I grew up in Nogales, Sonora. When I was twelve, my father got a job offer in Chicago and my family decided to move there. I was a shy, prepubescent girl in a completely new environment. I had to learn to adjust quickly, or else I would be left behind academically and socially. I started by trying to be more confident, which was arguably the hardest challenge I had to overcome.

I felt uncomfortable because everything was new and foreign, but I knew that I had to put myself out there. I talked with the other kids and tried to be their friend. I had to learn to ignore my accent. I also had to learn to be patient. I assumed that in a couple of weeks, I would make friends and have the sense of community and home I felt back in Mexico. I realized that building friendships and establishing myself in a new environment takes more than just a week. People have to get to know me, too.

This experience taught me a lot about who I was as a person and to hold on to that, but also be open to new experiences. I kept my personality and my values while building lasting relationships with friends I still have. I lived in Mexico for the first ten years of my life then moved to the United States when I was eleven. I got to experience two different cultures, school systems, languages, and types of people at a very young age and I think it definitely shaped my character. Studying abroad in Cork, Ireland will help me continue to develop my cultural and intellectual awareness.

I decided to study abroad on my own terms—to choose where and what I want to study. I researched and found the USAC program for Cork, Ireland and it seemed like the right choice. I researched other colleges, but University College of Cork offered more of the courses, or modules, that I was interested in and there is no denying the beauty and splendor of Ireland.

I had never paid much attention to Ireland before researching it. I remember reading about it in books as a quaint, romantic country filled with friendly people. After learning about Cork and UCC, I was captivated by all the rich history, beautiful landscapes, and fascinating culture of the Irish. I wanted to immerse myself in all of that. I continued to read and learn about Ireland through articles, research, pictures, and even Tana French’s fictional Irish books. I simply could not satisfy my curiosity and interest in this small country that offers so much, which led me to realize that studying there is the perfect idea.

I am majoring in Psychology with minors in both Social Work and Studio Art. While studying at UCC, I will focus on taking modules for both Psychology and Social Work, so that I can learn about these fields of interest from a different perspective.

I chose UCC partly because of its program in Applied Psychology. I am interested in seeing the ways in which it approaches and teaches the material. I was also intrigued by all the different classes in Social Work they offer. I plan on taking a module called Child Care and Protection Practices because I am curious about how they view this social issue, one that is very complicated and unclear in the United States.

Learning about Psychology and Social Work from foreign professors and interacting with other students from all over the world will enhance my understanding on these fields. As a student in UCC, I would be studying and living in Ireland meeting new people with different ideas and backgrounds. Hopefully, this new experience will provide me with some insight into my future career and the specific program I wish to study in graduate school.

I also really enjoy painting, and being in a beautiful, very different country such as Ireland would be an amazing experience and opportunity to expand my artistic interests and subject matter. Traveling around Ireland and seeing the old stone castles surrounded by endless fields of the greenest pastures already sounds beautiful and magical. I want to be surrounded by all the beauty, history, and culture of Ireland.

I am also excited, and somewhat scared, that I will be going alone. I think being in Ireland by myself will motivate me to have experiences outside my comfort zone. It will challenge me to build new friendships and really immerse myself in the country.

I expect to be overwhelmed and a bit lost when I first arrive at Cork. I will be in a new country, alone. I will not know anyone, but that is part of the exciting experience. I will eventually find students like me with similar interests and I will get accustomed to the UCC, my classes, and Ireland. I will take those lessons I learned as a young girl moving across the country and apply them when I study in Ireland. I will try being confident, patient, and true to myself while learning about a different culture and forming even more relationships for the future.

Benjamin Burney

Spring 2016 Study & Intern Abroad Scholarship Winner
Spring 2016 Study & Intern Abroad Scholarship

This spring 2016, Go Overseas is happy to announce that Benjamin Burney of Anderson University was awarded our $500 scholarship to study and intern abroad. He's headed to Milan with IES Abroad this fall. Take a look at his winning essay and photo submission below:

What interests you most about your potential host country?

I have chosen Italy as my study abroad country because it has been one of the leading countries of sophistication, in terms of classical music. I am pursuing a career as a professional classical opera singer, so I believe that my decision in going to Italy will benefit me the most in my ambitions.I will be living in a homestay because I want to absorb as much of the Italian culture as I possibly can.

I am most excited about participating in this program because I will regularly be attending music performances at the Teatro Alla Scalla Opera House. There are field trips offered to explore, engage, and truly become part of the country such as: experiencing the cradle of Western Civilization of Sicily, touring the countryside of Tuscany, skiing in the Alps, exploring the heritage of Lombardy, seeing the enchanting scenery of Stresa, and diving into the music, culture, and cuisine of Northern Italy.

Morgan Davis

Spring 2016 Volunteer Abroad Scholarship Winner
Spring 2016 Volunteer Abroad Scholarship

This spring 2016, Morgan Davis won Go Overseas's bi-annual $500 scholarship to volunteer abroad. She'll be applying her scholarship to volunteer in Thailand with Loop Abroad. Below is her winning photo and essay entry. Follow Morgan's adventure on Instagram: @justmorgan17

What interests you most about your potential host country?

I have a passion for agriculture and preserving our most precious resource; the environment. In this picture, I hosted a can drive and collected over 2,000 aluminum cans. I arranged the cans in the shape of a chicken to combine my two loves, agriculture and the environment.

I am looking forward to my trip to Thailand to see how their land is different from ours and to see how their agriculture approaches differ from ours as well. Because of my love of animals, my program focuses on a veterinary curriculum which is an amazing opportunity to learn.

Priscila Venzor

Fall 2015 Study & Intern Abroad Scholarship Winner
Fall 2015 Study & Intern Abroad Scholarship

This fall 2015, Go Overseas is happy to announce that Priscila Venzor was awarded our $500 scholarship to study and intern abroad. She'll be headed to Costa Rica with USAC this spring and you can follow her adventures on Instagram at priscilavenz_r. Take a look at her winning essay and photo submission below:

What interests you most about your study abroad destination?

I have always been fascinated by the different histories and cultures that pertain to countries from all around the world, and that is what I am most excited to learn about during my semester abroad in Costa Rica. Learning about all the different customs, beliefs, art forms, and lifestyles from different parts of the world are so compelling to me because it has a huge impact on the way I see the world and who I am in it.

From my perspective, Latin American cultures are so vibrant and beautiful and we do not often get the chance to learn about them. In a way, these cultures seem so exotic. So close to us on the map, yet so far, so obscure. Not only do they practice different customs, but they speak a completely different language. There are differences in verbal and nonverbal communication styles, perceptions of time, uses of space, so many little things that almost seem insignificant. Yet they mean so much.

It is all so interesting to me, and being able to have the opportunity to go and experience a completely new and different culture is absolutely amazing. I cannot wait to completely immerse myself in the Costa Rican culture.

Cameron Kogut

Fall 2015 Volunteer Abroad Scholarship Winner
Fall 2015 Volunteer Abroad Scholarship

This fall 2015, Cameron Kogut was the lucky winner of the Go Overseas $500 scholarship to volunteer abroad. She'll be applying her scholarship to volunteer with ISV in South Africa. Below is her winning photo and essay entry. Follow Cameron's adventure on Twitter: @camkogut13

What interests you most about your potential host country?

Many children dream of going to Disney World or meeting their favorite celebrity, and for much of my childhood that seemed to be a big enough aspiration for me too. However, when I entered the sixth grade it became clear that just wasn't enough. My history teacher completely transformed my idea of what a dream was meant to be.

Mr. Turner was born and raised in South Africa. To this day, his inconceivable stories from his childhood are etched into my memory. He spoke proudly about the magnificent wildlife and gorgeous landscapes. He spoke about the incredible people that were always kind despite their often less than ideal conditions. He spoke about the change these people needed dedicated students like us to make.

Experiencing something as life changing as he indicated his time in South Africa was made me realize that Disney World and meeting Justin Bieber just weren't the dreams for me after all.

I wanted to travel. I wanted to see a place that completely took my breath away. I wanted to help communities and come back ready to tell their impactful stories in a way that moved other people to make a change as my sixth-grade teacher's stories did me. For these vast reasons, I want to volunteer in South Africa.

Mary Beth

Spring 2015 Study & Intern Abroad Scholarship Winner
Spring 2015 Study & Intern Abroad Scholarship

We're pleased to announce the spring 2015 winner of the $500 Go Overseas study & intern abroad scholarship, Mary Beth from Purdue University! She's heading to London this summer for an internship with CAPA International Education.

This round, we asked applicants to showcase their overseas motivations via creativity & imagery. We had a ton of great entries! Thanks to everyone who took the time to apply.

What inspires or motivates you to intern abroad?

Since I was small, I've loved to read and write. Books took me where I physically could not go, describing beautiful places, fascinating cultures, and incredible sights beyond the ones I knew or understood. It was no surprise to my family or friends when I decided an English major was best for me, and like many English majors I now aspire to work in the publishing field.

What interests you most about your potential host country?

I’ll admit it. I am a language nerd, and British English is interesting to me rather than a vexing cultural wall to leap over. I've learned in many of my classes that language is the key to culture. I hope by learning the British “language”, I can experience English culture more fully and expand my limited worldview, thus growing as an individual.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years as a result of this program?

Through my overseas work, I hope to gain valuable professional experience in the publishing field, as well as learning to adapt to a variety of professional situations more related to my chosen major. At the very best, it will connect me with authorities in my field and give me a unique professional experience. In five years I see myself graduated and beginning my work in the publishing field, using my past intern abroad experiences to help shape my new professional life.

Kiley Good

Spring 2015 Volunteer Abroad Scholarship Winner
Spring 2015 Volunteer Abroad Scholarship

In the spring 2015 volunteer abroad scholarship, we asked applicants to showcase their overseas motivations via creativity and imagery. We had a ton of great entries -- thanks to everyone who took the time to apply! Ultimately though, Kylie was awarded the scholarship to volunteer in Zambia with IVHQ.

How are you involved in your community at home?

Dance has always been something inspires me. I have been dancing since I was 3 and it has always allowed me a place to escape to and let out any and all emotions. At home I teach dance to children and I love seeing them grow and be creative with their movement. While in Zambia I plan to dance with the children and help them find the same release that dance has provided me with. It is a language every can understand!

What interests you most about your future host country?

The content way of life draws me to Zambia. This photos shows how peaceful the world can be. In Zambia they seem to find a way to be so happy with little nothing materialistic. They are happy to wake up each day and smell the fresh air. That is something that I envy and hope to take back with me.

What inspires you to volunteer abroad?

I was lucky enough to attend a multicultural High School where I met the boy in the photo, Nabill. He is from Zambia, and expressed what a need there was for help in his country. He told me when he was young he still remembers volunteers coming and teaching him English. His story is what has motivated me for the past 7 years to want to volunteer.

Watch Kylie's experience in Zambia with IVHQ