Simpson Alum Has Interesting Offer

by Peter Kaspari

Next fall, one lucky Simpson student will have the unique opportunity to spend an entire year studying in Athens, Greece, at almost no charge.

This chance to study in Greece for a small price comes to Simpson from an anonymous alumnus who studied abroad via the College Year in Athens program when he was an undergraduate.

“It was a transformative experience for him,” said Jay Wilkinson, international education coordinator “He is now an attorney and has the means to provide support for a scholarship and would like to offer that opportunity for another Simpson student to be able to hopefully have an experience like he had.”

While the College Year in Athens program has been in existence for several decades, this is the first time a scholarship has been offered to a Simpson student to study abroad in Greece. This program is also not a Simpson-sponsored program, which means students cannot use their Simpson financial aid. Thanks to the donor, most of the expenses will be covered by the scholarship.

“This particular program is being offered because this donor wants to fully fund the cost of the program,” Wilkinson said. “[The donor] will pay the sticker price of the program, but there are costs the program doesn’t cover, such as the transportation cost to and from Athens, some of the meals aren’t covered and just personal expenses.”

The other part of the scholarship that sets this program apart is that it will only cover a student who wants to spend an entire year in Greece.

“For this scholarship the donor is offering, he was there for a year and that’s important to him that the student who receives this would also go for a year,” Wilkinson said. “Students can choose to apply for this program for one semester but if they want to apply for the scholarship, they have to be willing to go for the entire academic year.”

The scholarship will only cover one student, so the selection process will be a very careful one. As a result, the application process for this scholarship will be different than other programs.

“We ask for a personal statement, but because this is a competitive scholarship, we’re asking students to write more,” Wilkinson said.

This time around it will be roughly five pages for applicants.

“We want them to explain their interest in the program, how it fits into their educational goals, and why they should be selected for the scholarship,” Wilkinson said.

Sophomore JoAnna Freeland is interested in the experience.

“I really like Greek history because I read The Iliad last year,” Freeland said. “I thought it would be really cool to be in a country where history happened.”

Freeland agreed with Wilkinson about the competitive nature of the scholarship.

“I’d say that everybody has a chance to do it, which makes competition pretty high,” Freeland said.

Senior Megan Berlin believes that everybody should study abroad while at Simpson.

“I think it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that students get to experience during college,” Berlin said. “It opens your eyes to what else the world has to offer.”

The deadline for students to apply is Feb. 1, 2011.