Anna Ford '19 has received both the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship and the Freeman Awards for Study in Asia scholarship. She will use the funding during the coming year to study language, business and politics at Kansai Gaidai University in Osaka, Japan, one of Roanoke's International Student Exchange Program affiliate schools.
The Gilman scholarship is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. The program aims to diversify the student groups who study and intern abroad and the countries and regions to which they go, with the goal of making better-prepared leaders within the government and private sectors.
The Freeman-ASIA scholarship program is funded by the Freeman Foundation and seeks to increase the number of U.S. citizens who have first-hand exposure to and understanding of Asia and its peoples and cultures. Both scholarship programs are administered by the Institute of International Education.
Jennifer Rosti, Roanoke's director of scholarships and fellowships, described Ford as enthusiastic and hardworking and said, "I am not at all surprised that this worthy student won both of these competitive and prestigious awards."
A Hampton, Virginia, resident, Ford is "nearly positive" that she will major in international relations and already has declared a concentration in East Asian studies. She leaves for Japan in August and will return in June 2017.
Ford became interested in the Japanese language in high school and began learning it on her own. After arriving at Roanoke, she enrolled in Japanese courses and assumed leadership in the student organization Asian Students United. "Languages and different cultures have always been interesting to me," Ford said, "and I'm thrilled to finally be able to live abroad to experience them firsthand."
In addition to her studies, Ford plans to travel and volunteer. "If possible," she said, "I would love to volunteer at a local elementary school teaching English to children, as I hope to teach English abroad following graduation." She will be documenting her experiences through video and will share them on campus at the Lunar New Year Festival upon her return.
Academic advisor Dr. Stella Xu expressed her delight at the scholarship awards and described Ford as mature and motivated. "I believe she will be one of the best exchange students at Kansai Gaidai," Xu said.
Dr. Pamela Serota Cote, Roanoke's director of international education, said, "She will be an excellent ambassador abroad for Roanoke College and the United States...she will make the most of this opportunity to live in another culture and learn more about herself and the world."