Mario Rivera, a Baruch College senior majoring in global studies, is the recipient of a Freeman Award for Study in Asia (Freeman-ASIA) of $7,000. Through the study abroad program, he will enroll in the Japan Studies Program at Nagasaki University in Japan for the 2007-2008 academic year.
Rivera has also received a C.V. Starr Study Abroad Fellowship for $4,000. The Starr fellowship awards provide merit and need-based financial assistance to Baruch College students who wish to study abroad for one or more semesters. The C.V. Starr Scholarship Fund is made possible by a generous grant from the C.V. Starr Foundation and is administered by Baruch’s Weissman Center for International Business.
The Baruch College Study Abroad Office is where Rivera began his journey to Japan. First, he learned about the many study abroad options Baruch offers; then, he applied early to several programs. Given how competitive scholarships such as the Freeman-ASIA award are, this maximized his chances for acceptance. Since the launch of the program in 2000, Freeman-ASIA has supported over 3,000 U.S. undergraduates with their study abroad plans in East and Southeast Asia.
Rivera’s interest in East Asia was first sparked while serving in the U.S. Army during 2003-2004, where he studied Chinese and paid a visit to Taiwan. He was thrilled to learn he had been accepted to the Japan Studies Program. There, classes are taught in English, but the program promotes intensive development of Japanese language skills, emphasizing interaction with native speakers.
“The unique thing about the Freeman-ASIA program is that it really encourages language learning in Asia,” Rivera explains. “My stay with a host famiy in Japan will allow me to immerse myself in the local culture and language, and I know that will be a great experience.”
In addition to furthering his goals of getting a master’s degree in foreign affairs or Asian studies, Rivera says that his time abroad will prove invaluable in helping him land his dream job of working for the United Nations.
“Spending an entire academic year abroad will not only allow Mario to learn a difficult language but will enable him to acquire the subtle knowledge of Japanese culture that only a long-term stay can provide,” said Richard Mitten, director of Baruch’s Study Abroad Office.
Freeman-ASIA award recipients are expected to share their experiences with their home campuses to encourage study abroad in East and Southeast Asia by others and to spread greater understanding of Asian peoples and cultures within their home communities. Since Baruch also encourages students who have studied abroad to attend Baruch’s annual Study Abroad Fair, Rivera will make a presentation on his Japanese experience when he returns, complete with Q&A and a slideshow.
Contact: Richard Mitten, Director, Study Abroad Office, Baruch College, 646-312-2076, or Lara Moon, Communications & Marketing, 646-660-6093.