"I am extremely thankful to everyone in the SILLC Committee for awarding me my very first (hopefully of more to come) study abroad scholarship. Thanks to this generous contribution to my academic career, I will be studying abroad in Kobe, Japan for the 2015-16 academic year. While there I will be taking intensive Japanese language courses, as well as culture-focused courses that will enhance my knowledge about the beauties of Japanese literature, history, and tradition. The program I will be a part of contains numerous excursions to historical sites around Japan, including shrines and temples in Kyoto and Nara. What I am most excited about is the chance to really immerse myself in the life of a Japanese student, by having the opportunity of a home-stay experience for the entirety of the year. After studying abroad I will take one more class in Japanese, and be done with my EAS major. I plan to stay another two years to complete my English and Global Studies major, and hopefully graduate with honors. I have a lot of plans for the future, among which are applying for a Fulbright grant, work as a Foreign Service Officer abroad in Japan, and/or teach English in Japan and other countries. Studying abroad is a critical step to achieving some of these goals, and I am beyond ecstatic to be able to go without fearing greater financial burden, thanks to this scholarship."
Laura Penalver is majoring in East Asian Studies, Global Studies and English at the University of Arizona