OXFORD, Miss. – Savannah Coleman, a junior at the University of Mississippi, has been given the opportunity of a lifetime this academic year to study abroad in Germany on a scholarship funded by the German Academic Exchange Service.
The Biloxi native is majoring in international studies with a concentration in Europe at UM. A member of the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College and the Croft Institute for International Studies, she is also studying German, global business and economics.
“I have always been interested in learning about different cultures and the world around me,” said Coleman, who is living and studying in Berlin for two semesters. “International studies and studying abroad just seemed totally natural for me.”
The German Academic Exchange Service – Deutscher Akademischer Austausch Dienst in German, known as DAAD – is a German government-funded program that not only offers scholarships to those wanting to study in Germany, but also to German students wanting to study outside in other countries. The scholarship provides a monthly stipend of 650 euros for 10 months, a funded pre-semester language program, additional funds to defray travel and research expenses, and health insurance.
“I have to say that living in a city like Berlin has exceeded my wildest expectations,” Coleman said. “I have never in my life fallen so completely in love with a city. I feel like I have found a place where I could belong and create a life. There is something for everyone here.”
Each year, about 500 to 600 Ole Miss students study abroad. Many other students believe that studying abroad is out of reach, but the UM Study Abroad Office helps guide students through their journey. The office’s staff helps students plan their programs without getting behind on classes. Financial aid and scholarships apply to study abroad programs, and additional scholarships are available.
Many classes are taught in English, so students without a foreign language background can study all over the world. Studying abroad also looks great on resumes, and international internship opportunities are available in the fall and spring semesters and summer.
Studying abroad offers several benefits, said Blair McElroy, director of the Study Abroad Office.
“Students step out of their comfort zones and experience a new way of life and a new culture,” she said. “But in addition to learning about a new culture, students also learn so much about themselves, including increased tolerance, independence and empathy. They also gain lifelong friends and experiences that stay with them forever and mold their future academic, professional and personal goals.”
Coleman encourages fellow students to take advantage of the opportunities.
“I understand that it can be scary and a bit nerve-wracking, but it is the most incredible adventure you can embark on,” Coleman said. “I feel like study abroad opens doors and opportunities that one could never dream of while back home.”
Anyone interested in studying abroad can visit the Study Abroad Office’s website at http://studyabroad.olemiss.edu/. For information on applying for the DAAD scholarship for the 2016-17 academic year, visit https://www.daad.org.