Iowa college students who speak Japanese and who long to experience what it would be like to live on the island nation are being offered an opportunity to spend a full year there.
Kassi Wheeler, international program manager for Iowa Sister States, says they’re now taking applications for a scholarship to study in Iowa’s sister state of Yamanashi, Japan, for the 2016-2017 academic year.
“They are going to be doing a research project,” Wheeler says. “We want somebody who is a self-motivator who is willing to dig in and have that passion for learning more. It can be on any topic.”
The scholarship winner will be attending classes at the public university in the city of Kofu while working on the research project.
“We have had people who have researched senior citizens and senior centers in Iowa compared to Japan,” Wheeler says. “We have somebody that did fashion and kimonos in Japan and how that history affects their culture.”
Yamanashi is Iowa’s oldest sister state, with a relationship dating back 60 years. The Yamanashi Prefecture Research Scholarship was established 20 years ago between Iowa Sister States and Yamanashi Prefectural University.
Wheeler says the person who wins this scholarship will first need to demonstrate they will be a positive ambassador for Iowa.
“We want somebody who can continue that friendship, that they show the ‘Iowa Nice’ as we hear all the time,” Wheeler says. “They are a good representative of Iowa and our Iowa culture, that they’ll be polite and they will make sure to reach out and be friendly to everybody.”
The applicant needs to be a current college student or a recent college graduate from Iowa. The scholarship covers tuition, entrance fees and accommodations in Yamanashi.
The recipient will be responsible for their own travel and living expenses, though ISS does provide a $1,200 grant to offset those costs. The deadline to apply is December 15th. The application is available on the Iowa Sister States website.