Fourteen Mercer Global Leader Scholars study abroad this semester

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Fourteen Mercer Global Leader Scholars study abroad this semester

Photo provided by Suzanna Arul

Photo provided by Suzanna Arul

Photo provided by Suzanna Arul

Photo provided by Suzanna Arul

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Mercer University awarded 14 students the new Global Leader Scholarship to aid them with their travel expenses as they study with Mercer affiliates around the world. This year’s scholars are traveling to countries including South Korea, Japan, Morocco, Sweden, Spain and the U.K. 

The students were awarded amounts between $4,000 and $8,000 to go towards their travel and living expenses. In order to be considered, applicants had to be studying abroad longer than eight weeks and had to complete an application that included three essays and two recommendation letters. 

Suzanna Arul, a senior Media Studies and Global Health double major, is one of the 14 Mercer students who received the Global Leader Scholarship. She is traveling to the University of Sussex in Brighton, England, to live and study this semester. She chose this university for its international developmental program, which studies poverty and inequality around the world, she said. 

“I’ve always wanted to travel. I’ve always wanted to … go to these different countries, especially France, since I’ve been in French classes and stuff, but specifically, I’m really excited to see all the little nuances about all these other countries that we don’t even recognize in our own country,” Arul said. 

The goal of the scholarship is to make study abroad opportunities more accessible to students, as there were not many study abroad financial aid options available for Mercer students in the past. 

Arul said that the scholarship eases her mind from the worries caused by the high costs of studying abroad in the U.K.

Junior Global Health major Angelo Malacapay is another recipient of the scholarship. He is studying at Linnaeus University in Vӓxjӧ, Sweden, which he said offered the most opportunities to earn credits that could be applied to his degree. 

Scholars are also encouraged to become involved with their area of study and come back to the Macon campus with new ideas and viewpoints to share with their communities. 

“The immediate impact (of the scholarship) is … giving students the opportunity to go abroad and acquire a new perspective and then use that when they come back or in the workforce,” Mercer’s study abroad adviser, August Armbrister, said. 

While the Global Leader Scholarship is aimed to address current obstacles to international study, the effects of the scholarship span past college for these students, Armbrister said.

“To go abroad, you’re building cross-cultural competencies, which you can use … working with diverse populations, (whether) they are working domestically or working abroad,” Armbrister said. 

Language proficiency and the ability to communicate with people from other cultures are other skills that students can apply to their future lives and careers, he said. 

Arul plans to use her time abroad to gain a greater understanding of different countries’ views on health in order to prepare for her career as a health journalist. 

“I really am so interested to learn more about how different countries are, in a holistic way — not just health in the sense of health care, but what do people deem important in terms of health?” Arul said. 

With the addition of this scholarship, Mercer’s study abroad program is also taking steps towards becoming more involved with its partners abroad. They hope to continue to expand the program and opportunities for students, Armbrister said. 

“Anyone can learn about different regions by outlets such as a book or watching a video about a place,” Malacapay said in a message to The Cluster. “To me, traveling to a new place and experiencing the culture firsthand creates the best possible opportunity to learn a new place to the fullest.”

Students who are interested in applying for the Global Leader Scholarship can visit the Office for International Program’s website for more information.