Kent State Student Awarded
$19K in Scholarships
to Study Abroad
Study abroad programs are popular at universities across the world, but the thought of extra expenses and tuition can be overwhelming at times. Jessica Miller, however, wasn’t going to let her financial circumstances stop her from traveling during her time at Kent State University.
The junior business administration and German translation major from Kent, Ohio, spent nearly 11 months applying for scholarships and grants to cover the costs to study abroad in Germany.
The result was just shy of $19,000 in financial aid and scholarships that allowed Miller to plan an almost yearlong stay to study at Universität Leipzig in Saxony, Germany.
Though Kent State does not have its own program in Germany, Miller was able to coordinate the trip through an exchange program with the Office of International Affairs. As she began the long process of applications and paperwork, Miller realized she would need to figure out how to fund the trip herself.
“I knew that in order to make this happen, I needed to find ways,” Miller said. “I was passionate and my determination paid off.”
Miller spent lots of time online, doing research on scholarships for study abroad students and brainstorming ideas with her parents.
“I relied a lot on other universities’ advice, too,” she said. “I read a lot of stories about previous students and how they had paid for their trips.”
She arrived in Germany in September 2010 and will return to the United States this August. Despite being the only Kent State student in her program, Miller didn’t have a hard time adjusting to life overseas.
“It wasn’t difficult for me,” she said. “I met students in the same situation and made initial connections. I stayed with friends the first few weeks I was there. My friendships helped me get through the toughest parts.”
Miller first developed an interest in foreign languages in high school and was able to participate in a five-week exchange program to Germany, where she loved being immersed in a different culture. Now, she volunteers at the U.S. Consulate in Leipzig, speaking to German elementary and middle school students about the United States through a program called Meet U.S.
“I like to show people that all Americans aren’t stereotypical,” Miller said. “It’s interesting to see the ways people are the same across the entire world.”
During weekends and breaks, she has traveled to other parts of Europe, including Prague, Norway and Denmark, making many friends along the way. She plans to spend her spring break with friends in Italy.
Still, Miller has to be mindful of the ways she spends money. She is responsible for everything while in Germany, including paying rent for the apartment she lives in with two German students.
For all the time she spent researching and applying for aid and scholarships, Miller said she never thought to total up the money.
“I didn’t know until the Office of International Affairs asked me to count,” Miller said. “I wasn’t expecting it to be that much.”
In the end, she recognizes that her hard work paid off.
“I’m taken aback at how much I was able to accomplish,” Miller said. “It was a few hours of my time for the opportunity of a lifetime.”