Honors College offers its students Study Abroad Scholarships


Noora Neiroukh

Oak View Hall is home to OU’s Honors College.

Rachel Yim, Science & Technology Reporter

The Donna and Walt Young Study Abroad Endowed Scholarship was established in 2004, and since its formation, it has become one of the most valuable financial support for undergraduate Honors College students at Oakland University who are interested in studying abroad.

“The Young’s happened to meet up with a member of Honors College staff, and following a conversation about supporting students to travel, the Walt and Donna Young Scholarship was born,” Graeme Harper, dean of the Honors College said. “A fortuitous conversation, for sure.”

According to Harper, the Young’s are avid travelers and are committed to education, and the scholarship they established way back then combined both those interests and continues to do so today.

A few years ago, the donors increased their endowment to further support Honors College students. This generous gift will allow even more students to study abroad in the future by providing required funding for lodging, tuition, books, fees, flights and other transportation expenses associated with study abroad programs.

These scholarships are offered 3 times a year (depending on time of travel) and applicants must satisfy the criteria below in order to apply:

  • Must be an undergraduate student enrolled in The Honors College
  • Must be in your second year or above, at the time of travel
  • Have a minimum 3.5 cumulative GPA at the time of the application
  • Be willing to communicate with the donors about the impact of the experience (arranged by The Honors College)
  • Preference given to students who exhibit leadership and involvement in the Honors College
  • One time award

“The most important element is educational value – which is a requirement, and which is confirmed during the selection process by the Dean of The Honors College and the Scholarship Selection Committee,” Harper said. “So, the Study Abroad travel, has to have that educational value.”

For each application cycle, the Selection Committee carefully reviews every application submitted, and works on the evidence given. However, every HC student who applies and matches the criteria is awarded funding, according to Harper. The amount generally varies depending on the length of their study abroad – which can be anywhere from 2 weeks to a year abroad.

The application deadlines are Oct. 15 for winter travel, Mar. 15 for summer travel and Apr. 15 for fall travel.

“The size of the award is at the discretion of the Selection Committee (but length of time most often guides that decision), and the Committee takes some time to read through the planned travel itinerary, information about formal programs and courses abroad, and plans on how the experience will relate to the student’s OU program of study overall and their future plans,” Harper said.

The students are also asked to submit a written report with photos upon their return from Study Abroad trip, which will allow them to share the places they visited and the experiences they had with the donors and the Selection Committee.

“This experience brought out a confidence in me to take on new challenges, make new friends and handle whatever life throws at me,” Amanda Breitner, past recipient of the scholarship, said. “I now have a broader world view and am itching to share my experience, as a teacher, with my students in the future. Thanks to this scholarship, I know that the kindness and generosity of strangers can change someone’s life.”

For more information about the scholarship, visit the Study Abroad Scholarship page or contact Karen Conn, administrative assistant for the Honors College, at [email protected].