By Brian L. Brink
As the audience listens quietly Krysten Kinner starts her speech by telling everyone how scared she was to travel outside of the United States.
The Vira I. Heinz Scholarship Recruitment Dinner took place on Tuesday, Oct. 3, at Thiel for all female students interested in studying abroad.
Prof. Cynthia Sutton, director of the scholarship for Thiel College, spoke about it is specifically for sophomore and junior women who have never been out of the country. Three women get chosen every year and they get to choose what country they get to travel to. They just must stay at their chosen country for at least 28 days.
Sutton went on to say that those chosen are given at least $5000 to pay for their expenses. However, if they choose a country that is not in western Europe then they are given another $1000.
Those chosen last year were Krysten Kinner, a junior psychology major, Isabella Bungo, a junior second education and history major, and Crystal Durachko, a senior political science major. The three of them went to Costa Rica, Germany, and South Korea respectively.
Kinner was the first to present about her trip. She said how happy she was while she was there and how proud she was of herself for doing it.
Kinner stayed with, and became a part of, a local family through a homestay program. This family not only fed her and kept her safe, but they also helped her with learning the Spanish language. She said she keeps in touch with the family and even snapchats with the daughter to this day.
Bungo started by saying she paid out of pocket to visit London before starting her studies in Germany. She then spoke about her time studying in Berlin, Germany.
Bungo said she was well prepared for her classes even though they went from 8am to 1pm. With classes done so early, she could explore most of the afternoons and evenings, along with every weekend.
Bungo saw Hitler’s bunker, a Jewish history museum, and Fredrick the Great’s palace, among others. She also traveled to see the Warsaw Ghetto in Poland and Anne Frank’s house in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
Lastly, Durachko presented about her time in Seoul, South Korea. She was there right after the impeachment of President Park Geun-hye. She stayed in the dorms of the university and with friends she made at Thiel.
Durachko talked about how she was a vegetarian for six years before going and that she took a break from it for her time there. She did this, so she could fully experience all that the city’s food had to offer. Some dishes she tried included Korean barbeque, Haejangguk, which is a Korean hangover soup, and even live squid.
Vira I. Heinz began this scholarship program after her husband, Clifford S. Heinz, died of pneumonia three years into their marriage. She started off by writing $1000 checks to women who wanted to travel as much as she did. This evolved into a full scholarship program that it is funded through the Heinz Endowment.
The program is open to full-time students who have a cumulative 3.5 GPA. There is a 10-plus page application that all interested students must fill out. If accepted, one must go to three different orientation retreats.