Boren offers alternative study abroad opportunity

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By Kelsey Jochum, Editor-In-Cheif

With UNO’s Study Abroad Fair just around the corner, students were invited to learn more about the Boren scholarship program, an award given to students interested in studying abroad in underrepresented areas. Aimee Hutton, a representative of the Boren program, spoke with UNO students Sept. 16 in the Milo Bail Student Center.

Boren scholarships, Hutton said, are geared towards students interested in learning a less commonly taught language while they study abroad. Because of this, Boren scholarships are not awarded to students who choose to study in Western Europe, Canada, Australia or New Zealand. However, most other countries are accepted.

Language learning is the most important component of the Boren scholarship. The National Security Education Program (NSEP), which was created by Congress in 1991, funds the scholarship. According to the Boren program brochure, NSEP’s goal is to “build a broader and more qualified pool of U.S. citizens with foreign language and international skills.”

NSEP believes that, while these languages may be less commonly taught, they are still critical to the nation’s future security. Students do not need any prior knowledge of the language they wish to learn.

While it is possible for students to earn credit towards their major while abroad, it’s often suggested that students put a hold on their coursework and focus more on the language learning aspect of the program. Because language learning is what the Boren scholarship focuses on, it can be difficult to take courses in a host country before one has begun to learn the language.

The amount of the scholarship depends on whether the student in question decides to study abroad for one semester or for an entire academic year. Students who choose to study for a semester are eligible to receive a maximum of $10,000, while those who wish to study for a year can earn up to $20,000.

Because the Boren scholarship is a very competitive award, certain preferences are given during the application process. First, students who choose a preferred country and language will be given priority, as well as students who choose to study abroad for a full academic year. Also, the Boren program has preferred fields of study for their award recipients, which can be found on the program’s website at borenawards.org.

The most important aspect of the Boren scholarship is the NSEP service requirement that follows. In return for accepting the award, Boren scholars must make a commitment to working in the federal government for a one-year minimum following graduation, according to the Boren program brochure. This can include work in areas such as the Department of Defense, Dept. of State, Dept. of Homeland Security and the Peace Corps, as well as many other areas. Students have three years after graduation to find a job with the federal government, Hutton said, and being a Boren scholar helps immensely in securing these jobs.

While the Boren scholarship is one option for students who wish to study abroad, there are several other options to be considered as well.

The UNO Study Abroad Fair, which takes place Sept. 28, features information on many different study abroad programs that UNO students can take advantage of. Emily Hardt, UNO’s study abroad advisor, suggests that students attend the fair if they are interested in studying abroad.

“The first step [for these students] is to attend the fair and then visit the study abroad library in ASH 241,” Hardt said. “Once they have sifted through their options, they should set up a meeting with me so that we can find the best program for them.”

Hardt says each student has a unique experience.

“Students have many different needs when it comes to studying abroad,” Hardt said. “Whether it’s independence or assistance that they are looking for, I am there to guide them through the entire process. They are never alone.”

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