Monda Scholarship opens world of opportunities for students
Keith Monda and Veronica Brady with current and future Monda study abroad student beneficiaries, April 2022.
During the past two years, study abroad travel opportunities were limited due to COVID-19 precautions. However, students in the College of Arts and Sciences are slowly but surely enrolling in programs to take them all over the globe in the coming semesters.
Education abroad offers students the chance to earn academic credit, fulfill major or minor requirements, experience hands-on learning and gain invaluable insights. With more than 100 study abroad programs in 40+ countries, Arts and Sciences students are once again going beyond traditional classrooms and laboratories to enhance their global perspective and understanding of the world they live in.
The college offers multiple study abroad and travel funding opportunities for undergraduate arts and sciences majors currently enrolled on the Columbus campus.
One of the most impactful scholarships to fund travel was gifted by Ohio State alumnus Keith Monda ’68, ‘71. The Monda International Experience Scholarship is a need-based award open to Columbus campus undergraduate students with a declared major in the Arts and Sciences. Awards are made twice each year, and hundreds of students have benefitted since the scholarship was created in 2012.
Brief excerpts from two such students, Shelby Gogal and Aneira Watkins, are featured below. Keep reading to learn more about their once-in-a-lifetime study abroad experiences made possible by this philanthropy.
Linguistics major, Korean minor
Graduating spring 2022
I had wanted to study abroad ever since I first encountered the Korean culture and language in high school, so it really was a dream come true that I was able to go to Korea amid the pandemic and my early graduation. While at Korea University for the semester, I took two history classes, an advanced Korean class and a Korean linguistics class. This linguistics class was especially fun because my professor was actually from Cleveland and graduated from Ohio State!
Because all classes were online as part of the country’s pandemic response, I had more free time in my week and used it to explore Seoul’s different neighborhoods during the week. When not exploring on my own, I attended events put together by my program coordinators and planned small trips with my friends. I went to the Gyeongbok Palace in traditional Korean clothing known as Hanbok. Among the trips my friends and I went on, the best place we visited was probably Jeju Island. In another of the pictures I’m in front of the Jeongbang Waterfalls, a very famous tourist spot in Jeju, and I’m wearing my special (“Gyul,” which means tangerine) hat. Jeju Island is famous for its tangerines, and my friend and I were offered quite a few free samples of them while we were there — they were delicious!
The shows me paragliding in a small city in South Korea called Danyang. I scheduled the trip with my friend, and we made a whole day out of it. It was such a fun and unique experience that I will forever look back on as a personal achievement for myself — for making it happen and for having so much fun in something I had never even thought of doing before. As I mentioned, I am on track to graduate early, which means I’m quickly approaching the future career that had once seemed so far away. Although I’m not set on any one career to pursue after I graduate, I know I want to continue learning and fostering my Korean and incorporate it into whatever career I find.
This trip abroad has been invaluable in my Korean learning and I am extremely thankful that I was lucky enough to go and see Korea for myself before graduating with the scholarship I was given. I am forever grateful!
한 번 감사드리겠습니다! (Thank you once again!)
Evolution and ecology major, biological basis of behavior minor
Graduating spring 2023
I am studying evolution and ecology with a minor in the biological basis of behavior at Ohio State with the intent of furthering my education in veterinary school to obtain my Doctor of Veterinary Medicine and work rehabilitating marine animals. The University of Manchester has a strong and developed animal behavior program, which correlates to my minor and will be essential to understand when working with wild animals.
When I opened the email informing me that I had received my scholarship I nearly started crying for joy. I read the email at least five times that night out of shock and disbelief. The night before I was on the verge of canceling my study abroad trip because I didn’t know how I was going to pay for it; the only thing that kept me from canceling was my mother’s voice inside my head saying, “Pursue your dreams, everything will work out in the end.” Sure enough, this kindness and faith in me has allowed everything to work out, and I will now be able to focus on academics and enjoy my time abroad, rather than worrying about how to pay off the loans I would have had to take out.
Come September I am excited to experience and explore the United Kingdom both independently and with my peers. I can’t wait to see both the well-known sights, as well as the hidden gems with my third-party provider and future friends! The University of Manchester is currently projected to teach in a blended fashion, meaning that I should have some lessons in-person, which will be a great way to start meeting people outside of my residence hall.
My parents met when my mother studied abroad in England her junior year of college, and all of my family on my father’s side still lives in Wales. I just purchased my plane ticket and am planning on spending two and a half weeks with them before I head off to Manchester for the semester. I haven’t been back to visit them since 2016, so I feel very blessed to be able to see them again.
At the end of the two weeks with my family, my nana and aunty drove me up to Manchester and helped me move into my dorm, or flat as they say in the U.K. My hall of residence is only a four-minute walk from the center of the university, which is absolutely fabulous, especially when I have to walk to class in the pouring rain. I am living with eight other students; most are from the U.K., but there is one from Italy, one from Bulgaria and one from China, so conversations are always interesting. I’ve met loads of other international students on exchange as well. The first Sunday I was here I went to the International Society’s “afternoon tea” and met two girls from Switzerland, one guy from Dubai and another from India. I’ve also met three students from Indiana University.
In the week before classes, I took time to explore the city of Manchester, which is only a half-hour walk from my accommodation. I’ve shopped at local fruit stands, tried a burrito with both home fries and chips (fries) and stumbled upon a music festival. Last Saturday, I took a self-guided tour of the John Rylands Research Institute and Library, which was built in the 19th century but has a neo-gothic design to it, and I took a canal boat ride around the city. On Sunday, I joined the International Society for a day trip to the lake district and Windermere. It was stunning but involved lots of walking. I walked to the top of a peak where I was able to look out at surrounding forests, farms and the lake. I also bought fancy handmade chocolates from a local shop, and they are a far cry from Hershey’s — in the absolute best way.
I started classes on Monday, which is the main reason I am here. So far, I love them. This is the first semester I am genuinely excited for every course I am enrolled in. I am taking: Hormones and Behaviour, Chemical Communication in Animals, Clocks Sleep and the Rhythms of Life, Ecology and Conservation, Animal Diversity, and Haematology. I think they will be a lot of reading and a lot of work, but I am excited to learn! This weekend, I hope to check out the art museum in the city center and join a day trip to the Yorkshire Dales.
This academic week was filled with studying, late night chats with my flat mates, trying new recipes and making friends in my lectures. I am learning so much new information; it’s all so exciting. My favorite class so far is Hormones and Behaviour, in part because of the content, and in part because of the professor. The material is directly related to information I am interested in — why animals behave the way they do — and it builds upon information I learned in my animal physiology course to put the information into a real-world context. The professor also makes the class engaging; my favorite part is when he drops subtle flexes when he’s making a point. This past Monday he casually mentioned that he has worked with Dr. Jane Goodall in the past. As soon as he said that I could feel the whole class perk up in awe that the man in front of us has worked with someone so influential.
This past weekend I did something I’ve never done before — spent an entire weekend doing zero homework! Arcadia, the program I came over with, had planned a day trip to Windsor Castle that Saturday, so I decided to make a weekend trip of it. After my last lecture on Friday, I rushed to the train station to catch the train to London. After settling into my hotel, I walked to the Theatre Royal where I saw “Frozen” on West End. In high school, I volunteered at Cleveland’s Playhouse Square, so it was fantastic to be back in the theater again! I woke up early the next morning to meet the group at Paddington Station where we took a train to Windsor. The castle was amazing. It is a very different experience seeing an active castle compared to the ruins; it puts history into perspective and makes me appreciate it more. The Queen was in residence when we were there, so everyone was hoping to see her pop out of one of the rooms, but we had no such luck. On Sunday, I visited the British Museum, walked around Covent Garden Market and studied in the British Library before taking the train back to Manchester.
This weekend I am planning on staying in Manchester, spending time catching up on work and hanging out with friends locally. Next weekend it’s back down to London to join Arcadia at Stonehenge!
The past two weeks have been very busy! This week I had two exams and two projects due, but next week is reading week, so I will have a week break from classes. I’m taking the week to travel to Italy with two other girls; we leave Monday! We will be traveling to Venice, Florence and Rome.
Last weekend I traveled down to London to meet my program, where we took a coach to Stonehenge and Salisbury. Seeing the stones in person is much different than looking at photographs in a textbook. Being there in person made me reflect on the daily lives of those who lived in the Neolithic Age and reinforced the notion that words in a textbook are not merely stories, but recounts of real people who led meaningful lives. Too often, I look at history as another subject in school that I need to get through, but taking trips like these help remind me that the world is much older, larger and richer than I appreciate.
When we returned to London I made my way over to Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Cinderella.” I think I’m going to make a habit of seeing a show on West End each time I travel to London because they’re such fun, and a great way to transport me to a place with no worries for two and a half hours.
Yesterday, one of the exchange students I met on the Stonehenge trip studying at a London university came up to Manchester, so I played tour guide for the day. We got 25,000 steps in while visiting the Science and Industry Museum, watching people get ready for Manchester’s Christmas Market, and wandering around the different villages.
The past two weeks I’ve been focusing on taking time to build relationships with students on campus, which has been really good. Whether that’s been going to a Zumba class, grabbing food or studying together in the library, I’ve been making a point not to get too wrapped up in coursework. I’ve also been talking with my program advisors at Ohio State, Arcadia and in Manchester about extending my stay in England for the academic year. I feel as though I still have more learning and growing to do abroad, and I don’t think that a month and a half is a sufficient amount of time. The time is flying by.
Since my last update I have taken a few small trips, but I’ve also stayed more local and spent time hanging out with friends in Manchester. The Christmas Markets in Manchester opened a month ago, and I have had fun wandering around the stalls on the weekends and getting in the Christmas spirit. Unfortunately, I’ve also spent more time in the library the past few weeks with upcoming deadlines. Exams aren’t until January, but they are still a looming presence. To break up studying I’ve started attending community Zumba classes with my friends!
In terms of trips, I traveled to the Peak District with the International Society where we took a tour of an old cavern and wandered around a quaint town called Bakewell. They are known for their Bakewell tart, so of course I had to taste one to see if it lived up to the hype; it did. I also had my last program-sponsored trip where I saw “SIX” the musical on West End. It was an engaging show, a bit like a rock concert, and gave good insight into the wives of King Henry VIII — things you don’t learn in history textbooks.
After the musical, a friend and I traveled to Bath for the weekend. When we went inside the Roman baths I met an Ohio State alum; it’s crazy how big the Buckeye alumni network is that you can meet someone anywhere you travel! Last weekend, I took my last International Society sponsored trip to Stratford-upon Avon where I walked past Shakespeare’s birthplace and saw a musical production put on by the Royal Shakespeare Company.
This is the last week of classes, and on Saturday I’ll head down to my grandparent’s house in Wales for the break. I am looking forward to spending Christmas with them and maybe do some traveling if COVID-19 allows.
As the semester comes to a close, this will be my last update. This generous scholarship has allowed me to make my dreams of studying abroad a reality and visit my family who I haven’t seen in four years. Without this gift I would not have been able to make the most out of my semester by traveling both in and out of the country. While I will be taking out loans to finance next semester, I am only able to do so because I took out minimal loans this semester, so this gift will follow me into the new year. Thank you again!