Over the course of 30 years, UEA has created an exceptional exchange programme, maintaining long-standing links with more than 180 outstanding universities across the world. The Programme has increased recently in that the number of students on degrees with a year abroad has nearly doubled to about 350 students who will be going abroad in 2018/19. The number of Humanities students who can study an optional semester abroad has also increased, with about 35% of students studying overseas each year.
Going on a study abroad semester or year shows that our students are the global citizens that are much needed in today’s world. Some will have experienced living their daily lives in a country where another language is spoken, and all students will have expanded their personal networks both academically and socially. They will learn new approaches and viewpoints to their current academic subject and will be able to study modules that they cannot study at UEA, thereby increasing their chances of learning more things that will guide them through their careers later. Indeed, one of the main benefits of studying abroad is the later benefits to their employability, as returned students stand out from the graduate crowd, having extra independence and resourcefulness that is invariably valued very highly by employers.
From a personal perspective, students mature a lot during their time abroad; they learn about their own interests, strengths and adaptability, and they become much more independent and self-confident, as well as open-minded and eager to explore the world and the opportunities it offers. However, the decision to study abroad can be an expensive one, and the increased financial burden can prevent our students from making the most of their time away from UEA.
Thanks to the generosity of our donors, this financial burden can be lessened. The annual Year Abroad Scholarships Reception, which took place in June on the Rooftop Terrace of The Enterprise Centre, celebrates that generosity alongside the achievements of our students as they ready themselves to embark on their year abroad, becoming ambassadors for UEA at institutions around the globe.
Nathaniel Sikand-Youngs, who studied for the BA (Hons) degree in American Studies and was awarded the Joe Greenwell Scholarship in 2016, has recently completed his final year at UEA and is looking forward to graduating in the summer. Nathaniel wrote to his donor, Joe, on his return to the UK after his year studying at the Berkeley campus of the University of California, to talk about his time in America and thank him again for the scholarship, which enriched his experience while he was there.
Nathaniel said “Unsurprisingly, I had an utterly phenomenal time. I wrote for The Daily Californian student newspaper in my first semester, where I recorded my impressions of the San Francisco Bay Area. I also pursued subjects outside my usual field of study, taking a class in the Music Department and another in Architecture. The Scholarship enabled me to travel to different parts of the country, firstly New Jersey and New York City. It was wonderful to revisit Manhattan, the place that first sparked my interest in studying the US when I went there on holiday at the age of 14.
“In the Western United States, the scholarship allowed me to explore places and communities often omitted from mainstream narratives about a particular region. The image of California as a liberal state certainly held true for the San Francisco Bay Area, but I also wanted to see places that defied this reputation. So, using the scholarship money, I took the famous California Zephyr train—which runs from San Francisco to Chicago on the path of the transcontinental railroad—to Reno, Nevada, watching coastal California transforming into landlocked California along the way.
“Having travelled to (what I perceived as) these forgotten, isolated, and neglected American places, I now feel yet more inspired to study and write about underrepresented people and places in my future studies. This, along with my infatuation for Oakland while I was living there, has helped guide me towards a dissertation topic for my final year. I will be writing about how modern art and culture in Oakland, particularly poetry and the built environment, are representing gentrification. In preparing for this, the scholarship helped me yet again by allowing me to purchase a range of contemporary literature written in and about Oakland while I was there. I also used the scholarship to visit numerous museums relevant to my interest in the history and culture of Northern California.
“I think that the greatest aspect of my year abroad has been the sense of direction it has given me. At the end of my second year, I knew that I was really enjoying American Studies and thriving at the University of East Anglia, but, other than doing a Master’s, I did not have any broader sense of what I might like to do in the future. Now, I know that I want to return to the Bay Area one day on a more permanent basis to pursue my study of and writing about the United States.”
This year, thanks to the generosity of our donors, six high-achieving students, who are about to embark on their year abroad, received scholarships to enable them to make the most of their time away from UEA without having to worry about the increased financial burden of studying overseas.
Vice-Chancellor Professor David Richardson, who hosted the Reception, said: “The recipients of the Scholarships have proven themselves to be model students, having achieved the highest grades in their respective Schools and been accepted to study at some of our most prestigious partner universities. When they leave for their year away at the end of the summer, they will be helped by Scholarships which have supported UEA students for many years.”
The Will Jordan Memorial Scholarship, established seven years ago by the family and friends of former UEA student Will Jordan, continues to reward brilliant creative writing by helping a student to share the same wonderful experiences Will had while away in North America. This year’s recipient is Patrick Juul Hannibaldsen. The application process is based on a piece of creative writing, and Patrick impressed the judges with his “clever, assured, playful and perfectly pitched” writing. He will be using his scholarship to study in Vermont. He is excited about studying modules on African American writers, as well as Henry James and Victor Hugo.
The Santander Year Abroad Scholarship is open to all students embarking on a year abroad, regardless of their degree subject, who are intending to study in Mexico, Chile, New Zealand, Australia, Hong Kong, South Korea or Uruguay. This year’s winner is Esme Hope Hahlo. Esme is a student in the School of International Development, and hopes that her time abroad will help her to adjust to new cultures, and observe differences and integrate herself into her surroundings.
The Joe Greenwell Scholarship and the Colonel Charles L Walker Scholarship generously reward academic brilliance within the field of American Studies, and the Allan Buch UK Scholarships have not only supported some of the most academically strong students at the University, but have also allowed UEA to create a lasting, meaningful bond with the University of California, Berkeley – an institution which attracts some of our brightest students each year.
This year’s recipient of the Joe Greenwell Scholarship is Jack Lewis, who will be using his Scholarship to study in Minnesota, where he will explore his keen interest in American contemporary life, culture, and politics. The Colonel Charles L Walker Scholarship was awarded to Charles Pritchard. It will go towards funding Charles’ studies in Vermont, where he will combine his interest in poetry, philosophy and political theory.
The Allan Buch UK Scholarship recipients are Molly Ainger and Rebecca Fielding. Molly, a student in the School of Environmental Sciences, and Rebecca, a student in the School of Art, Media, and American Studies, were both selected for this scholarship on the basis of their outstanding academic performance in their time at UEA so far. Whilst at Berkeley, Rebecca will be exploring differences and similarities between human relations depending on location. Molly will be investigating new facets of her studies and fully intends to make use of the opportunity to build new connections to launch a career in countries beyond the UK.