Student awarded more than $29,000 in scholarships to study in Japan

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Nolan McCormick, a student triple majoring in Japanese, biobehavorial health and theatre: dance performance option, with a minor in neuroscience, is currently spending the year abroad while studying at Ibaraki University in Mitro, Japan. 

"At first, I didn't even consider studying abroad for a full academic year. I thought there was no way I could make it work both with my major requirements and financially," said McCormick.

However, he took the initiative to seek out funding opportunities and was successfully awarded multiple scholarships, including a Bridging Scholarship for study abroad in Japan, a Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowship, a Freeman Award for Study in Asia, the Education Abroad Whole World Scholarship and Liberal Arts Enrichment Funding. The combined awards amount to more than $29,000 in funding. 

McCormick chose the exchange program that Penn State has with Ibaraki University after consulting with his professors, academic advisers and education abroad staff. "Mito is a perfect city for studying Japanese culture," he said. "Much smaller than Tokyo, Mito has allowed me to learn about a more traditional and historic Japan, yet is only a short bus ride from all the opportunities of the big city. I'd recommend anyone looking to truly experience a foreign way of life to consider studying in a smaller city."

Thanks to a great international student center at Ibaraki University, McCormick has had many opportunities to connect with his new community. Joining a club is his number one recommendation. At the beginning of the semester, McCormick joined a joint international student/Japanese student debate club, which has given him the chance to learn about other cultures and viewpoints. He also had the chance to present to a local Japanese high school about American life and culture. 

"I think making the decision to go to a strange place and learning to handle any problems that arise has been transformative for me," said McCormick. "Being able to take setbacks in stride and come out on the other side a more capable and competent person helps in all aspects of my life, particularly academically. University requires a sharp, adaptable mind to succeed, and living in another country definitely helps develop those skills."

Upon graduation, McCormick hopes to leverage all of his diverse majors and pursue graduate studies in human information studies.

Many students do not consider studying abroad at all, yet alone for a full academic year. McCormick is an example of how anything can be possible for a resourceful and hardworking Penn Stater. Now that his first semester in Japan has come to an end, McCormick is glad that he decided to stay for two semesters.

Applications to study abroad in fall 2017 and academic year 2017-18 are due March 1. Interested students can explore program options for study abroad here. There is still time to apply, and it is never too early to start planning.

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Last Updated March 09, 2017