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Obama Scholars

Can I use my Obama Scholarship to study abroad?
Absolutely! After completing your first year in the Obama Scholars Program you may choose to spend one semester on a Partnership or Exchange program during either the fall or spring semester. This will count as one semester toward the eight-semester maximum. Your funding will continue to be based on ASU cost of attendance and will not cover any study abroad fees. Your cost of attendance will reflect ASU’s standard off-campus budget.

When is the ideal time for an Obama Scholar to study abroad?
The best time for an Obama Scholar to go abroad would be junior year, so planning should start sophomore year. With detailed planning, it is also possible to go your sophomore or senior year. 

If I apply for a study abroad scholarships will my Obama scholarship decrease?
The amount of your Obama scholarship will vary based on additional funding that you receive. See example below on how your scholarship is calculated. 

Explanation of how program funding works for Obama Scholars at Arizona State University

If I obtain additional scholarship money, am I eligible for refund money?
If the amount of your financial aid exceeds the charges on your account, you will receive a refund. However, the amount of your Obama scholarship will vary based on additional funding that you receive.

 If I choose to do an exchange program, will I be granted the housing stipend based on the average cost of living in Tempe, or in the city I am studying in, or at all?
We will use the standard off-campus budget amount to determine housing costs for the Obama scholarship.  For more information about off-campus housing cost, refer to our cost of attendance.

If I am a peer programmer/CA/CM one semester and then study abroad the following semester, will I receive money for housing when I am abroad?
If you have confirmed to spend one semester in an ASU-sponsored study abroad program, please contact Financial Aid and Scholarship Services to review your awards.

Tips to keep in mind

  • Begin planning your study abroad program nine months to one year before your anticipated departure

Resources for more information

Obama Scholar Student Profile

Brittany Ferguson

Name: Brittany Ferguson
Major: Criminal Justice
Study Abroad Location: Florence, Italy
Study Abroad Program: ISA: Business, Hospitality, Design & Liberal Arts at the Florence University of the Arts and Apicius International School of Hospitality
Courses:

  • Contemporary Mafia and Antimafia, 3 credit hours
  • Developing Mind Potential: Mindfulness Practices, 3 credit hours
  • Food, Culture and Society in Italy, 3 credit hours
  • Wine Appreciation I, 3 credit hours
  • Communicating in Italian (beginner), 3 credit hours

Future Academic and Career Plans: I plan to pursue academics and work towards a Master’s degree, hopefully abroad.

How I grew academically through the program:

I academically grew from the program by having to adapt to a different style of teaching but also learning from different perspectives.  As a Criminal Justice major I was able to take a course that was insightful about the history of mafia, its practices, and those who now fight against mafia.  My professor had firsthand experience with the mafia because she was once a translator for the prosecution against the mafia.  Going abroad gave me a new passion for subjects I had never thought of studying before and to continue studying them after my undergrad degree.

How I grew culturally through the program:

Living in a new city on the other side of the world was different and took time to get used to, but it opened my eyes to living a different way.  I never would have imagined getting up every morning to buy groceries and staying up till late at night to have a three hour dinner, but I became accustomed to the Italian lifestyle.  Also, traveling within Italy and to other surrounding countries gave me the ability to appreciate other ways of life.

How I grew personally through the program:
Studying abroad in Italy was my first time out of the country and my first time being away from family for such a long period of time, so it helped me be more independent than I ever thought I would be. I am more confident to travel by myself.  I learned that no matter how far away family is, they are always there for you.  I also formed new friendships so I now have connections not only abroad, but also across the United States.

How I learned about study abroad:
I learned about study abroad during my freshman year, but I did not think I would be able to do it financially.  Then I spoke with Amy Golden, Director of Obama Scholars, and she explained that I had the opportunity to apply the Obama Scholarship towards one semester of study abroad. I immediately spoke with an International Coordinator in the Study Abroad Office and Financial Aid and Scholarship Services to see how the scholarship would work.  The Obama Scholarship covered the majority of my study abroad program, but I was short a bit so I had to take out a loan.  I never imagined that I would take out a loan, but for this opportunity it seemed like a once in a lifetime opportunity so I saw it fit to take one out.  If you are going to take out a loan, this is the opportunity to use one.  I would also suggest attending a Study Abroad 101 info session to learn more about choosing a program and the application process.