As one of only 40 colleges in the country (and the only school in Kentucky) eligible to nominate students for the Thomas J. Watson Fellowship, and with more Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship recipients than any other institution in Kentucky, Berea College continues to offer outstanding study abroad opportunities for students.
Berea College student Dylan Hunziker has been named the 2014-15 Watson Fellow. Created in 1961, the Thomas J. Watson Fellowship Program offers graduating college seniors of “unusual promise” the opportunity to engage in one year of independent exploration and travel outside the United States. The program has granted more than 2,700 Watson Fellowship awards with stipends totaling more than $29 million to eligible seniors for the opportunity to travel abroad for a year.
The program’s goals are to enhance the capacity for resourcefulness, imagination, openness and leadership and to foster humane and effective participation in the world community—in short, to develop future leaders who are self-reflective, well-informed and mindful world citizens.
Hunziker, a sociology major, says, “I have been waiting for an opportunity like the Watson ever since I opened my first Chinese book nine years ago.”
His proposal, “Tip of the Tongue: Language Balancing Among the Chinese Diaspora,” will take him far from his Missouri home to China and the Chinese diaspora around the world to learn about Chinese communities and their relationship to the Chinese language with its various dialects. His project will lead him to Taiwan, Peru, Kyrgyzstan and Italy.
Many Berea students have also had opportunities to travel abroad through the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship that is awarded yearly. This year, a record 13 Berea College students were awarded Gilman Scholarships to study abroad. This number represents the most of any private school in the country and is in the top 10 for all schools.
The Gilman Scholarship offers grants for U.S. citizen undergraduate students of limited financial means to pursue academic studies or credit-bearing, career-oriented internships abroad. Such international exchange is intended to better prepare U.S. students to assume significant roles in an increasingly global economy and interdependent world.
Both of these opportunities for international travel and study help prepare Berea students to be successful in an increasingly interdependent world.
As stated in Berea College’s Great Commitments, “The Berea experience nurtures intellectual, physical, aesthetic, emotional, and spiritual potentials and with those the power to make meaningful commitments and translate them into action.”
Whether home or abroad, Berea College has and will always invest in lives of great promise.