Proposal for Greater Availability in Financial Aid for Studying Abroad- A Narrative

Memo

Date: September 28, 2015

To: Mandi Pierce, Study Abroad Coordinator

From: Oleva Berard, Student at Christopher Newport University

Subject: CNU Study Abroad Scholarships

Purpose

The purpose of this memo is to propose the development of more opportunities for scholarship or to increase the availability of scholarships for students wishing to study abroad.

Summary

Christopher Newport University offers a wide variety of study abroad opportunities.  The CNU Study Abroad Office is very helpful when it comes to helping students find the right trip program for them. Students are highly encouraged to apply for these programs and travel the world to explore their studies globally.  Although students are given the opportunity to receive the information, there is little availability of financial assistance for the students who cannot afford the trip.  There should be a greater availability of scholarships for students to be able to study abroad.

Studying abroad is a unique college experience that offers the opportunity to be exposed to a culture that is completely different from one of an individual’s origin.  This exposure truly opens students up to experiences that might not have even seemed possible before.  To determine the impact that greater availability of scholarships for study abroad programs would have on the CNU community, I have conducted surveys of students who have studied abroad in the past to gauge the benefits of their experience.

Abstract

Studying abroad is a one-of-a-kind experience that gives students the opportunity to grow in many ways as individuals. Currently, financial aid is not readily available to students wishing to study abroad while finances are one of the biggest concerns in making the decision. The purpose of this study, was to use the results to note the benefits students gained from studying abroad in order to encourage the growth of scholarship availability. The data collected revealed that the students gained more beneficial experience from their trip than negative.

Key words: studying abroad, experience, students, scholarships, financial aid

Introduction

This past summer, I had the amazing opportunity to study abroad in Brussels, Belgium for one month. I had previous traveling experience to other countries with family but I had never gone anywhere that far without my parents. After returning from my trip, I can honestly say I gained a completely new insight on different cultures. I am more confident in my own independence and I feel ready to take on more challenges I had not felt confident in before. I chose to conduct this study because of my personal experience with studying abroad and I want more people to be able to have the kind of memories that I do now. I believe that by looking into the experiences had by others who have studied in different programs, there will be a broad range of opinions to highlight the positive impact studying abroad has on CNU students.

Theoretical Approach

I chose to conduct this study as a narrative. I decided to conduct a survey in which participants would give detailed answers about their study abroad experience. By using three students from different trips, I hoped to gain insight into similar experiences shared by each. In finding these similarities, I hoped to find connections that exemplify the benefits reaped from studying abroad in a foreign country.

Methodology

To collect student opinions, I created a short questionnaire in which I asked three students via email to be as detailed about their study abroad experience as possible. Through this process, I hoped to gain insight into the personal benefits each subject felt they gained from their study abroad program and the impact that finances had over their decision to participate. Each student participated in different trips, varying in length (2 weeks, 1 month, and 1 semester) and location (England, Belgium, and Scotland).

Appendix

Questionnaire:

 

Why did you decide to study abroad?

How do you feel your study abroad experience will benefit you in the future?

Would you recommend studying abroad to someone who hasn’t?

Are/were finances a deciding factor in studying abroad for you?

Were you offered any scholarships to study abroad?

 

Findings

According to the surveys, all of the students gained a greater sense of independence. Though the duration of the trips varied in length, each student gained more benefits from their experience than they felt hindered by it. The three students I chose to survey had received some form of financial aid towards their study abroad trip but they were gained from specific academic programs or outside organizations. No scholarships were independently obtained through the study abroad office.

Analysis

The overall positive feedback from the surveys can be used to strengthen the argument that studying abroad has a positive influence on the lives of CNU students.

Data Visualizations

 

wordcloud

infographic

Recommendation

I recommend that more funding be set aside specifically for students wishing to study abroad but require financial aid.

 

Thank you for taking the time to look at my proposal.  If you have any questions or comments, please contact me at oleva.berard.13@cnu.edu.

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