By Jacob Schaperow and Leo Traub
Know a student interested in studying abroad in Israel? This year their chance of being awarded scholarship money through the Meyerhoff Center for Jewish Studies’ may be higher than in the past.
The Meyerhoff Center is seeking applicants for its Israel scholarships and has set aside university money for individuals studying abroad at accredited institutions for a semester, break, or year.
“This past year, maybe it was a bad year, we didn’t get as many applications as we normally do,” Dr. Charles Manekin, director of the Meyerhoff Center, said. The Meyerhoff Center typically receives between 7-10 scholarship applications per year.
The amount of money the department awards in any given scholarship can range from $200 to $2,500, depending on variables such as the program’s needs, qualifications and length, Manekin said.
Senior Hannah Shapiro is one student who received financial aid through the scholarship. A double major in Jewish studies and government and politics, Shapiro prepared for study abroad by enrolling in Ulpan, an intensive Hebrew language course, prior to beginning her semester abroad.
“Most [of] the classes I am taking revolve around Jewish studies themes,” she wrote in an email. “The program offers many courses that directly transferred back to Maryland for both my Jewish studies and government and politics major requirements.”
The scholarship application includes an essay about how going abroad will benefit the applicant’s undergraduate studies. The panel of grantees looks at how students will tie Jewish or Israel studies into their study abroad programs.
“You should talk professionally in your application about how this program is going to fit into your career plans or your university career plans,” Manekin said. “If you are a business major and you want to study start-ups…. How does this fit into your thing, and where do you think your qualifications are?”
The department prioritizes students who are Jewish studies majors or minors and Israel studies minors, Manekin said, but any student, undergraduate or graduate, can still qualify for scholarship funds.
“We [provided money to] a young lady a couple years ago who wanted to study water issues,” Manekin said. “It involved her going to the West Bank a couple of times, maybe working with Palestinians and Israelis.” The important thing, Manekin said, is that the student earns college credit abroad related to Jewish or Israel studies.
The Meyerhoff Center accepts applications for scholarship in the fall and spring. Oct. 17 is the deadline for fall applications. For more information on scholarships, visit http://jewishstudies.umd.edu/scholarships or email the Meyerhoff Center at firstname.lastname@example.org.