We have another scholarship winner!! We’re thrilled to announce the winner of the latest $5000 CEA Scholarship campaign that was hosted on Abroad101′s website! Francisco Almanza from UT-San Antonio will be headed to Italy this fall with CEA after writing a compelling case for why he deserved the scholarship and how he would incorporate his studies in Italy back to his school and community in Texas. He also blew us all away by securing over 6000 Likes to his entry, which was twice as many as any of our previous winners!
We were able to interview Francisco via Skype and email to learn more about his scholarship campaign and what he hopes to gain from his experience in Italy! He told us the biggest contributor to the success of his campaign was rallying his friends and family back in his hometown who helped promote his scholarship entry over the radio and by sending personalized messages to everyone he knew! Francisco really wanted to let all of his supporters know how thankful he was for everyone’s help and encouragement throughout the entire campaign that helped him secure the scholarship!
Below is the interview we had with Francisco:
1) You mentioned your parents really encouraged you to study abroad. Can you explain why they were so adamant about you going abroad?
My parents really encouraged me since I was in Jr. High to study abroad because they believe, that by doing this I would learn to appreciate to what I have back home, and how lucky I’ve been. So they agree with me that this kind of challenges help forge a character and help you grow as a independent person. Since I was little boy they wanted me to go to Japan, so when the opportunity to study abroad in Italy came along my parents encouraged me and have been very supportive every step of the way, and for this I am very thankful. My cousins have studied abroad before in Brazil, and one of them in Canada so when I talked to them about the possibility of studying abroad they immediately wanted me to go. I am very grateful with my family for the amount of support they have given me every step of the way.
2) How did you find out about the CEA scholarship on Abroad101′s website?
I found out about the scholarship through my study abroad advisor in UTSA, Kim Diehl, so I guess I have to thank her too for letting me know about the scholarship, have I not gotten her email informing me about the scholarship opportunity I probably wouldn’t be answering this interview. But yes I found out through my advisor in an email including the link and the basic premise of the contest.
3) How do you think your previous experience with culture shock (from when you moved to Texas) will prepare you for the culture shock you may experience when you arrive in Italy?
As I mentioned in my essay I feel that my previous experience with culture shock will help me adapt more quickly. Culture shock has many stages one of them is the honeymoon phase where you just love everything about the place and that is the phase I want to stay in my whole trip haha. Unfortunately things are not that way, and for me this trip is a challenge. So I feel that my previous experience with culture shock will help me prepare as to know what to expect about how at first things aren’t how you pictured or how sometimes you may be down but it is all part of a process and if you hang on long enough you’ll get the most out of the experience. So previous experience helps me prepare as to how I can keep going forward even though some thing may not always go my way.
4) What is the one thing you are really excited to see or do once you’re in Italy??
I LOVE soccer, so when I get to Italy I wanna go to a soccer game in Naples, ever since I was a little children I’ve been a fan of Maradona. In Napoli the soccer team in Naples, Maradona was an Idol, a hero, so I look forward to going to a soccer match in Naples. Sicily is also an interesting place I wanna go to, I am gonna taking an Italian Mafia class and Sicily was a big part of everything that revolves around the mafia, so just getting to know that beautiful island sounds great. But for me the one thing that excites me the more is just being there in Italy, I’ve never to Europe before so just being there watching the Coliseum, the Tower of Pisa, everything I just can’t wait to be there. Also I wanna try the gelato place you guys suggested on the interview if it is the best then I can’t wait.
Thank you so much to CEA for providing Francisco with this incredible scholarship and opportunity to study in Italy!!
We also want to thank all the other participants who entered the scholarship contest, and encourage you to pursue your dreams of studying abroad!
Francisco’s reaction after telling him he won!
Francisco’s Response to: “Please describe why you deserve this scholarship, and how you would incorporate your studies in one of CEA’s programs back to your school or community.”Italy, a beautiful country in Southern Europe, is a land of diversity. The north has high snow-covered mountains, while the south has hot, dry plains. This amazing country has a delightful mix of modern and ancient art and design. Italy is where I plan to start my adventure of studying abroad. I plan on going with the CEA: Liberal Arts & Sciences program in Rome, Italy. I hope that if I am selected as a recipient of the CEA Global Education’s Scholarship this will help enhance my experience studying abroad. This program is a hybrid program and it is offered by the CEA Global Campus in Rome, but I would also take classes at John Cabot University. It offers a great variety of courses to choose from, spanning different majors. The courses I would like to take are, Elementary Italian, The Social History of the Italian Mafia, Macroeconomics, Business Ethics and Principles of Marketing. All of the aforementioned courses I chose because in addition to providing me with cultural enrichment, they will help me reach the goal of attaining my degree in Business Management with a concentration in International Business. I will take the Elementary Italian class in order to adapt to living in Italy. With my experience studying abroad, I hope to learn and master Italian, a language that shares similarities to my native tongue, Spanish. The rest of the courses I will be taking will be in English, and are related to my major, as elective support work or a common body of knowledge requirement. The important thing is that when I return to continue with my studies I will not be behind. Macroeconomics, Business Ethics, and Principles of Marketing all are part of the Common Body of Knowledge part of my degree, I will take this classes at John Cabot University, except Principles of Marketing, which I will take at CEA Global Campus. The Social History of Italian Mafia is a support course for my major concentration International Business, and Elementary Italian to learn the beautiful and charming Italian language. I was born in Edinburg, Texas, but all of my family is from Mexico so Spanish is my native language. I was raised in the border town of Reynosa, Tamaulipas in Mexico, where I lived for 16 years until I finished junior high and my first year of high school. Afterwards, I moved to Mission, TX. At first I experienced culture shock because I was so used to everything in Spanish and my old friends and customs in schools. In Mission, I had to practice a lot more English in several different places. Even though Mission is a border town and thus many people spoke Spanish, it was still a challenge I overcame. After high school I went to study by myself to San Antonio, and next semester Italy. All of what happened to me from living at first in Mexico then the U.S., is what I expect to happen to me at Italy: the culture shock, the language barrier, and the shyness. However, thanks to the experience I acquired by going through all those barriers, I feel that I can rise to the challenge, learn, and adapt quickly to the Italian culture and customs. Participating in this program will help me see and understand the different social and cultural aspects of another country across the globe and this is essential to my International Business degree. In conclusion, participating in this program will help me be more independent, learn different business perspectives in this ever changing global economy, and gain the experience of a lifetime. If awarded the CEA Global Education’s Scholarship, which will enhance my experience, I will be able to participate in things I would not be able to learn by reading a textbook or by looking at pictures. With the experience everything I acquire during my time abroad, I will apply to my everyday way of seeing things, I will try to especially incorporate into my community by encouraging friends to study abroad, start a club, a global club. This way by incorporating my experience I can help people be more informed about issues around the world and encourage them to trying new things, to diversify. Italy is a beautiful country, and by studying abroad I will be able to learn courses and get a hands-on experience that will be useful for the real world, my community and my life.