Emerging Market Economy in Light of Communist Past
Ukraine has a long and fascinating history as an eastern Slavic state. Once called Kyivan Rus, Ukraine was incorporated into the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, from which it gained independence in the mid-17th century. Even as one of the Soviet Socialist Republics, Ukraine never lost its nationalistic spirit, and succeeded in regaining autonomy in 1991. Ukraine is still in the process of achieving an internal balance that does not involve an excess of government control.
Gilman Scholarship Program
The Gilman Scholarship Program produces a more diverse range of American students representing the country abroad by distributing additional scholarships to those who receive Pell Grants (indicating financial need). Other groups that receive preference include students from two-year schools, students with disabilities, and students from ethnic minorities.
You must plan to study in one country for at least four weeks, and may also study elsewhere. The Gilmans do heed the State Department’s travel warnings (see note at bottom of page), so bear that in mind. The average Gilman award is $4,000, and the maximum is $5,000, but if you study a language on the Critical Need list you are also eligible for an extra $8,000. 24% of Ukraine’s population speaks Russian, and Russian is considered a critical need language (that is, one useful in national security work).
The Boren Awards include scholarships for undergraduates and fellowships for graduate students who want to study abroad in countries designated as vital to national security but less often chosen by students. The Boren requires you to study a language, and both Ukrainian and Russian, which are Ukraine’s two principal languages, appear on the preferred list. Ukraine itself is also listed as a preferred country, and those qualifications will strengthen your application.
The Borens are especially competitive because of the money involved. Scholarships bring as much as $20,000 and fellowships, up to $30,000, but you will be expected to complete government service in exchange for the opportunity. The NSEP Service Requirement specifies work in national security, and that may take you to agencies like the Departments of State, Defense, or Homeland Security. NSEP stands for National Security Education Program, which is that part of the federal government that funds the Borens.
Scholarships From Private Organizations
School of Russian and Asian Studies
The School of Russian and Asian Studies (SRAS) is both a provider and a unique resource on funds for studying abroad in Eurasia. SRAS offers translation internships, grants and research awards to offset some of the costs of its study-abroad programs, as these examples show:
- The Home and Abroad: Report journalism internship combines reporting work at home and travel to Kiev (also spelled Kyiv), Ukraine for the purpose of studying the Russian language and foreign policy. You will report for journals like Kyiv Weekly and receive two $5,000 scholarships to pay for the courses.
- A nominal award of $750 accompanies a chance to work for NGOs and cultural institutions like museums and theaters in Ukraine.
IREX is a nonprofit that uses funding from the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research to underwrite the Individual Advanced Research Opportunities Program (IARO). Advanced students conduct original research projects in Eastern Europe and Eurasia with the goal of contributing to American foreign policy. Ukraine is an eligible country, and your research can be funded for periods between two and nine months in length.
As you can see, the most recent group of IARO fellows included a scholar traveling to Ukraine to complete a project called “Former Collective Farmers’ Practical Navigation of Agricultural Land Reforms in Ukraine.”
Use Your Existing Financial Aid To Study In Ukraine
University of Kansas
The University of Kansas Office of Study Abroad lets you apply any existing financial aid to its summer Language Institute in L’viv (which you may recognize by its Polish name, Lwów), Ukraine. The course is open to students from any accredited school in the U. S., with the primary requirement being an interest in the Ukrainian language. You will live with a Ukrainian family while engaging in intensive language and area studies, and the courses in which you will enroll are offered through the university’s Center for Russian, East European & Eurasian Studies.
Most other schools that have comparable departments fostering the study of Ukraine and its surrounding area sponsor similar programs, both for semesters abroad and for study during the summer months, and many advertise the same liberal financial aid policy.
NOTE: If your country of choice is under an official travel warning, that may affect any applications you submit. Please check application requirements carefully.