Hi, I’m PoquitoMosquito and I’m a Boren…Fellow. I was awarded a Boren fellowship in 2015 to study in Sao Paulo, Brazil. I learned Portuguese (tudo bem?) and worked on my dissertation research at the Universidade de Sao Paulo. I was there for most of 2016, which was a very interesting year to be in Brazil (Olympics, impeachment)! Having a Boren fellowship gave me the freedom to live where I wanted within my study country, work where ever and with whomever, and independent of semester timelines. This freedom was really helpful in making study abroad work as a PhD student.
What’s a Boren?– Well, for starters, former senator David L. Boren spearheaded legislation that created the National Security Education Program that overseas the Boren Awards. The Boren Awards are an annual award to undergraduate and graduate students to study abroad and learn languages that have national security importance. In exchange for the financial award, the recipients agree to work in some capacity for the federal government for up to a year. This can be accomplished through working directly in an agency, for a contractor or as a volunteer.
What’s the application like? Applications are due in the Spring and require essays, transcripts, and reference letters. You need a plan to explain what you want to study, where, and how relevant that experience will be for your work and you career. Starting early is really important because you also draft your budget and it’s helpful to make connections to the institution/organization you want to work with.
What’s it like getting an award? It’s exciting and a little scary! The Boren Awards has a pre-departure training session in Washington, D.C. that is fun and a great chance to meet all the other awardees. You can network with others who might be in your same area of study or going to the same country. Then jet set, awardee! Go do your study abroad!
Have you gotten a Boren? Have questions about it? Leave a comment!