The University of San Francisco: Center for Global Education

USF student in class





Nicolas Miguel Orjuela-Scholarship Recipient Interview

Nicolas Miguel Orjuela, Spring 2014 Marcel and Clare Gloriot Foundation Scholarship and USF One Stop Scholarship Recipient,

PUC-RIO Rio de Janeiro, Brazi


Study Abroad (SA): Please tell us a little about yourself.


Nicolas Orjuela (NO): My name is Nicolas Miguel Orjuela and I am a Colombian student that has been living in the United States for the past nine years. Currently, I am an Undergraduate transfer student working to get my BA in International Business with a Minor in Economics. I transferred from the University of Minnesota in the fall of 2012 and will be graduating from USF after the Fall semester of 2014. During the upcoming Spring 2014 term, I will be studying abroad at PUC-RIO in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. I will be taking intensive Portuguese classes, as I plan to become fluent, and will be taking 16 credits at the university.


SA: Is studying abroad going to delay your graduation?


NO: Studying abroad will not delay my graduation and I will still be able to graduate in four years. I do advice students to leave some of their electives and core classes open if they are planning to study abroad as late as their junior and senior year. Doing this makes your schedule abroad more flexible, especially if classes are taught in a foreign language. Trust me, you don't want to be taking major courses abroad.


SA: Great!  Why did you choose this program?


NO: I chose this program because the University of San Francisco sponsors it. After attending the study abroad fair last semester, I decided that studying abroad would be the best experience for me before graduation. I explored different destinations and after research I decided Brazil was the best fit. Going through a USF sponsored program made the process much easier than it would have been if I had chosen a private study abroad program. They offered me useful instructions, trainings, and did all of the paperwork processing between PUC-RIO and me. Also, my USF financial aid transferred to pay USF tuition and for the study abroad program.


SA: Besides financial aid, did you receive other sources of funding to pay for your study abroad?


NO: Yes, I have received two scholarships so far and am currently waiting for a final response from another one. As a low-income student going through college on my own, these types of scholarships are necessary and true blessings. The first scholarship I received was through the One Stop office at USF. I demonstrated my financial needs, educational merits and wrote an essay in order to get additional financial aid for my study abroad trip. I also applied to two private outside scholarships. I applied through the Marcel and Clare Gloriot Foundation, and I successfully received a scholarship from them. I also applied through the National Society of Collegiate Scholars (NSCS), an honors society that has a chapter in our campus for which I am the current VP. I am still waiting to hear from them, but their scholarships are great! They range from $3,000-$5,000.


SA: It's great to hear about different opportunities available for scholarship to help students with the costs to study abroad.  Who told you about these scholarship opportunities?


NO: I found out through these scholarships mostly by being involved in several clubs and organizations throughout campus. I am currently a member of 6 clubs on campus such as the NSCS and the Entrepreneurship Club at USF. I was able to find many resources by participating and attending events. I also contacted some of the staff in the financial aid and study abroad departments here at USF. They gave me guidance and led me to resources that offer hundreds of scholarships. Also, just by doing research on my own on the Internet I was able to find legitimate scholarship opportunities such as the Gilman Scholarship. Networking is probably one of the best ways to go about it.


SA: Networking is so important in life.  Besides earning credit towards graduation, what other goals do you have while in Brazil?


NO: As an International Business major, I plan to become fluent in my fourth language, Portuguese. I will be living abroad for 7 months and my goal is to come back as fluent as I can. I am also hoping to make good connections that might help me evolve in my career as an international businessman. I would also like to explore different industries that make up the economy in Brazil and search potential multinational companies that I could potentially work for. I hope that I can submerge in the culture and come back with a part of Brazil in my heart. Finally, after I finish my semester, I will be attending the World Cup 2014 that will take place in many different Brazilian cities. This will be a dream come true.


SA: World Cup will be amazing!  Good luck to you and have a great study abroad!