384916_2428803763662_987546717_nAs a college student, I felt like my life’s dream of traveling the world was completely out of reach. Where exactly would I get thousands of dollars for a study abroad program? Although I was confident that the program would be worth it, it required money outside of my already limited non-negotiable monthly living expenses. Over time, I was able to save enough money to pay for the program, but without the help of my parents, family, friends and Sorors, I would not have been able to pay for my textbooks, meals or activities during my first journey outside of the U.S. It truly took a village to help me afford to study abroad in China for 5 weeks.

Upon my return, I kid you not – I had pennies in my bank account. Nonetheless, I returned richer in cultural wealth. My journey abroad inspired curiosity about the world, tolerance of different perspectives and lifestyles, and compassion for the less fortunate. Studying abroad was my first step in becoming a cosmopolitan: a person who has lived in and knows about many different parts of the world.

As a proud graduate of Georgia State University, it is an honor and a privilege to serve as a medium for students at my alma mater to finance a portion of their study abroad programs, which is often a considerable financial undertaking for the average college student. This scholarship could not be successful without the heart of this project – the donors.

I am extremely blessed to have people in my life who believe in this project and contribute their hard earned dollars toward a complete strangers’ education. With donors’ support, students will have an opportunity to explore a small piece of our planet – an opportunity that many are not afforded. In 2016, three undergraduate students will have the means to enrich their academic and professional careers through international education and global experience. Most importantly, I hope that through the Kortney Easterly Cosmopolitan Scholarship, they have an unforgettable, life-altering personal journey and “send the elevator back down” when they have the means to do so.

Thank you all for believing in me and doing something special for young people trying to fulfill their dreams. This scholarship has made for three of my best birthdays ever!