BOZEMAN – Montana State University student Ian Jirasko has won an undergraduate scholarship to study abroad in Germany for the 2016-17 academic year from the German Academic Exchange Service, the largest funding organization in the world supporting the international exchange of students and scholars.
Jirasko, a senior photography and English writing major from Paradise, will focus on German studies while at the University of Tübingen. He has also won scholarships from two additional sources, including the Baden-Württemberg Stiftung, and the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship program.
The process by which students apply and are chosen to participate in study abroad programs can be challenging, and it takes a certain amount of commitment to see it through, according to Alyson Roberts, adviser and outreach coordinator in MSU’s Study Abroad program.
“With less than 3 percent of MSU students studying abroad during their degree, winning this scholarship (and the others) speaks highly of Ian’s drive, commitment and desire to gain additional perspective on his major,” Roberts said.
“Traveling is such an essential reminder for me,” said Jirasko. “By definition, it forces (people) to rethink all the routines and mindsets we so often fall back on without realizing it. Yet, financial requirements often make travel seem impossible. Even though we all know scholarships exist, I feel that, as students, we're often so overwhelmed with opportunities and potential sources of help that it can be difficult to actually take the steps to act on any of them.”
The Office of International Programs’ Study Abroad advisers are there to guide students through the process, from finding the program that meets their academic, professional and personal goals, to navigating necessary travel documents and finding funding, often a concern for students wishing to study abroad, according to Roberts.
“I am so grateful that Ian believed in himself enough to follow through and apply for this scholarship. I hope this will inspire other MSU students to reach for their goals, especially those that may feel limited financially,” she said.
“When you really think about what these scholarships allow, it can be overwhelming. The fact that they exist year after year and offer what they do to those who really go for it, well, gratitude is far too weak a word,” Jirasko said.
The Office of International Programs at MSU offers more than 250 study abroad programs in over 60 countries. The Study Abroad office provides resources, advising and support to students in all majors wishing to enhance their college education by studying abroad.
DAAD, the German national agency for the support of international academic cooperation, offers programs and funding for students, faculty, researchers and others in higher education, providing financial support to over 112,500 individuals per year. The scholarships are highly competitive and recipients are chosen by independent selection committees on the basis of outstanding academic records and convincing project proposals or statements of purpose.
Contact: Alyson Roberts, Office of International Programs, (406) 994-7044 or email@example.com