Affording Study Abroad: Sydney Bartig, JBSD Scholar

One of main concerns prospective students have about JCMU is the cost of study abroad. However, we would like to show that funding is available for students that are willing to put in a little extra work in applying for scholarships.We reached out to Sydney Bartig, an alumna from the recently completed JCMU spring semester Language & Culture program and recipient of the 2016 JBSD Foundation Scholarship, about how she was able to alleviate many of the financial concerns she had prior to departure.


Can you please introduce yourself?

My name is Sydney Bartig and I am currently a senior at Oakland University. I attended the Spring JCMU language program.

What was your motivation for studying abroad in Japan? Why the spring semester Language & Culture program?

Due to the fact that Japanese is my major, I felt it was important to study abroad in Japan. I believe there is only so much that you can learn about another country whilst you are sitting in a university classroom. If you are studying a language, not just Japanese, I believe it is important to truly experience what you are studying first hand and that without doing so there will remain a gap in your knowledge. With regards to JCMU, not only did the promise of a challenging academic curriculum attract me, but the thought of being able to see and live within Japan for myself were the prime motivators.

I chose the Spring semester purely because it fit into my schedule best. Spring (Winter at my university) has a lower amount of courses available than compared with the Fall, so I thought that it would be best to study abroad within this time frame.

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Was the cost of study abroad a big concern for you?

The cost was easily the biggest issue for me. Quite frankly I struggle with my normal tuition, let alone study abroad, so I was certainly hesitant about that issue.

Many institutions and organizations (including JCMU) provide scholarships specifically geared towards study abroad students. As a JBSD Foundation Scholarship recipient, can you tell us how you found out about the fellowship and how you went about applying for it?

The scholarship application was actually a part of the JCMU application. I can’t remember if it was a required portion or not, but since it was right in the application it made applying extremely easy.

How did receiving the JBSD Foundation Scholarship help you prepare for your trip to JCMU?

Any extra financial help was essential for me. As mentioned before I struggle financially, so knowing that I had any extra source of aid was peace of mind. Although JCMU did have a budget sheet of what to expect, I was still nervous about the price of living in Japan. Luckily the extra help of this scholarship allowed me take a little bit of that stress off of my mind.

What would you say to prospective students that are considering JCMU but are unsure if they will be able to afford studying abroad?

I believe that if a student is serious about studying a foreign language then studying abroad is essential. Therefore I think that, even if money may be an issue, they should do their best to see what options they have. Many of my normal scholarships also went to study abroad, so students worried about money should meet with their financial adviser as soon as possible, as well as explore any additional options such as other scholarships, loans, etc. With regards to this scholarship and JCMU, as I mentioned previously that because the application is within the JCMU application itself, there is absolutely no reason not to apply and try your best for this scholarship. Everything helps when you are struggling for money. There may be many obstacles in the way, but the ultimate reward of being able to study abroad is completely worth the time and effort.

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We would like to thank Sydney for sharing her experiences with us, and we hope this inspires future students concerned about the finances of study abroad to consider JCMU! Every year, our students receive a variety of scholarships ranging from the Gilman Scholarship, the JBSD Foundation Scholarship, and more. For more information on what scholarships may be available to you, please feel free to contact us at jcmu@isp.msu.edu.

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