Scholarship supports Trine student’s semester in Greece

January 29, 2024

Cheyanne O'Dell
Trine University student Cheyanne O'Dell is studying in Greece this semester, in part thanks to a prestigious scholarship provided through the U.S. Department of State.
ATHENS, Greece — A Trine University student is spending her spring semester in Greece, in part thanks to a prestigious scholarship provided through the U.S. Department of State.

Cheyanne O’Dell, a general studies: pre-legal major from Elkhart, Indiana, left for Athens on Jan. 13 and will return May 11.

She is studying at Webster University in Athens, taking three classes every eight weeks that will apply to her major at Trine.

“This period I am taking two psychology classes as well as Intro to the Greek Language,” she said. “Next period I will take International Law, Consumer Behavior, and a class that explores the archeological sites around Greece.”

Study abroad and service

Cheyanne became interested in studying abroad as soon as she started at Trine.

“I had never been out of the country and heard from multiple people that studying abroad was an amazing experience that they still look back on,” she said.

Haseeb Kazi, Ph.D., faculty advisor for Trine’s Study Abroad Club, told Cheyanne about the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program during an advising meeting.

The program, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, enables students of limited financial means to study or intern abroad.

Cheyanne’s application included questions and three essays covering her background, a service project she would complete, and how she would represent the United States while abroad.

“The essays were overwhelming when I first learned about them; however, Dr. Kazi was super helpful in looking over my essays and giving tips on how to improve them,” she said.

She received a $3,000 scholarship toward her study abroad experience and service project.

“While traveling and meeting new people, I plan to ask about their home experience and gain their permission to make a short video of them answering questions about their homeland,” she said of the service project. “Once back home, I plan to combine the short clips into a longer one that I will then show children ages 5-13. I also then plan to explain my experiences in hopes of encouraging students to look into different cultures around the world as well as open them up to the possibility of studying abroad themselves.”

‘Just stunning’

Cheyanne said her experience has been “amazing.”

“The tours and help I got when I received here from the instructors were extremely helpful,” she said. “They took us on walking tours to show us the area and where to get groceries as well as transportation.”

Her typical day includes two-and-a-half to five hours of class, with no classes on Fridays.

“After that, I have a chance to explore,” she said. “The area is just stunning.”

“All my roommates are friendly and welcoming. They all come from different countries: Egypt, Georgia and Venezuela. It has been interesting and eye-opening to learn about their experiences through life.”

“If someone were to tell me they were overwhelmed to study abroad or that they don’t think it’s for them, I would encourage them to set a meeting with Dr. Kazi and talk to him,” she said. “Going into that first meeting last year, I had many doubts; however, afterward I was much more confident and excited to get started. I would also encourage them to not wait. I started my planning a year ahead, and although I am sure you do not need to start that soon, it made me feel much more confident about my decision.”

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