Change of scenery; change of perspective

A K-State student travels abroad to gain a new insight into life on the other side of the globe.

People always say, if you get the chance to travel abroad, take it. For many students this is not possible, but because of scholarships, a recent Kansas State University graduate, Elshaddai Abamegal, was able to travel to the Czech Republic and study abroad.

Elshaddai was awarded the Gilman International Scholarship. Congressionally funded, this scholarship helps U.S. undergraduate students at two-year or four-year colleges and universities participate in study abroad programs worldwide. She was one of two students to be selected for this scholarship at K-State last year.

Elshaddai traveled to the Czech Republic, in central Europe, where she took engineering and Czech language courses. While taking these courses, she was able to explore the country and dive into the culture. “As a person of color in engineering, it is very normal to feel like an outsider, or feel like your experience is somewhat of an anomaly,” said Elshaddai. “Then you go abroad, where a classroom is not consisted of one race or ethnicity, but of different ones; it made me feel like I belonged.”

Going abroad can change your perspective on your world, which is true in Elshaddai’s case. “It made me appreciate my background and experiences, in addition to being open to others’ experiences and upbringings as well,” said Elshaddai.  “I didn’t know it was possible, and when the scholarships provided themselves, it felt like I was living royally in the Czech Republic. The scholarships helped me to not think so much about money, which was a cool feeling.”

These experiences would not be possible without the help from scholarships. In addition to the Gilman scholarship, Elshaddai is a K-State Cancer Research Award and Koch Impact scholarship recipient.

“Scholarships have helped me tremendously. I’m an immigrant-turned-U.S.-citizen, and the scholarships helped me to not struggle so much to make ends meet, but also gave me more incentive to work hard in school,” said Elshaddai. “I wanted to feel like I earned the money, so I made sure I worked for it.”

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