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Kathleen Fox

Passport Scholarship Winner Traveled to Costa Rica

Major: Environmental Resource Management

Class: 2013

Keystone College student Kathleen Fox traveled to Costa Rica for nine days to study the geology and ecology of the region with Professor Dr. Ian Saginor. Kathleen, and other Keystone students on this trip, had the opportunity to visit several volcanoes, the cloud forests of Monteverde, and the San Elena Peninsula.

Kathleen was the winner of the Presidential Passport Scholarship, a program that awards $135 for the first-time passport application of a Keystone student planning to attend a faculty-led program or study abroad. Applicants submit a 500 word essay about why they want to study abroad.

Why I Want to Study Abroad by Kathleen Fox

In my entire 22 years living in this country, I have never left. I have only ever ventured as far north as Maine, south to Florida, and west to State College, Pennsylvania. It is a sad realization that I have never experienced this country let alone the world. When I first transferred to Keystone back in the spring of 2011, I was excited at the prospect of studying abroad. I saw that my major, Environmental Resource Management, occasionally offered a faculty-led trip to Costa Rica, I was ecstatic. I thought to myself that if I had the chance to go when the time came, I would do whatever I could to make the dream of visiting a foreign country a reality. The time has now come and I have achieved that dream. I juggled a job and a 240-hour internship over the past summer and was able to save up enough money to pay for the trip.

Studying abroad offers a unique opportunity to grow academically, professionally, and personally while going on a once-in-a-lifetime adventure. And that’s what it is, a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I see this trip not simply as a vacation like others may think. The experiences I will gain from the trip will truly help me in the future. By traveling abroad, I will get to see the different ways of life, morals and values that exist outside of the United States. Perhaps I will meet some people down there that might make me see something in a whole new light!

Of course, there is always the educational aspect to consider. I have a keen interest in the environment, and in our little corner of the United States, everything looks pretty much the same. We live in a temperate, deciduous forest, and it is all I have ever known. Traveling to Costa Rica will allow me to see a whole new world, one that is humid, subtropical, and rich with plants and wildlife that I have never seen! Since the trip is a geology trip, I will get to learn by seeing, not just by reading. Costa Rica is located on the Caribbean plate, very close to the Cocos Plate. Because of this, the area is full of volcanoes and other geologic oddities that will be very exciting to see!

I feel that this trip is going to help me gain skills that will help after college. I will learn how to adapt to unfamiliar environments, learn from different teaching styles, and challenge myself to excel outside of my comfort zone. I hope that you will consider me for the Presidential Passport Scholarship so that I may achieve these skills and see the world!

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