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Georgia Southern University Student Awarded Prestigious Scholarship for Study Abroad

eagleheadGeorgia Southern University student Jennifer Keyser has been awarded awarded a prestigious DAAD scholarship, and will spend the 2011-2012 academic year pursuing her studies at the University of Kassel in Germany. The DAAD, also known as the German Academic Exchange Service, is the German national agency for the support of international academic cooperation. Keyser, a Modern Languages major and Griffin, Ga., resident, is Georgia Southern’s first exchange student at the University of Kassel. Keyser is also a member of the University’s Honors Program.

“It’s really exciting because I get to spend an entire year in Germany. I get to basically set the tone for Georgia Southern students at the University of Kassel, and I get to make my own way. Study abroad programs help you step out of your comfort zone – to get to know other cultures,” said Keyser, speaking about the benefits of these learning opportunities. A multi-lingual student and former community leader for international students at Centennial Place residence hall, Keyser plans to pursue a career combining her linguistic skills with international trade or corporate communications.

While Keyser is studying abroad next year, Georgia Southern will host three sociology students from the University of Kassel, strengthening and expanding existing international student exchange programs through the Center for International Studies. The idea for the new partnership between Georgia Southern and Kassel was initiated by sociology professor Michael Dellwing, a former exchange student at Georgia Southern, and a DAAD scholarship recipient.

“I consider Georgia Southern to be a major part of my life course, and I have fond memories of the school, its professors and my fellow students,” said Dellwing, a 2003 Georgia Southern graduate who was inspired to create and coordinate the program between his former and current learning institutions. When it came to thinking of an exchange partner, I tried to make it possible for our students to come to the school I know, trust and have personal ties with. I do feel that our students can profit from being in a “large-scale, small-feel” American university. They will get all of the benefits of an excellent learning environment while having an experience that will let them appreciate the pluralism and diversity of the United States.”

“The idea is to exchange students back and forth between Germany and North America,” said Jeffrey Palis, interim director for the University’s Center for International Studies, “to  internationalize higher education in Germany and also promote the teaching of German language and literature.”

Georgia Southern hosts international students from more than 100 nations on campus. The new program between the University and Kassel is just one of many study abroad opportunities offered through the Center for International Studies.

Keyser received support from the University Honors Program in her application process.  In the last five years, the program has helped 23 students win a variety of nationally competitive scholarships.  The program works with all Georgia Southern students seeking to apply for these awards.

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