BAKER — Paige Dabney is one of just five Florida State University students planning to study in another country, thanks to a scholarship.
A David L. Boren Scholarship, worth up to $20,000, will help further her international studies in Georgia, the nation between Russia and Turkey.
The 21-year-old plans to attend graduate school and pursue work in international education with the U.S. government following her FSU graduation. While abroad, the international affairs and geography major will learn more about the Georgian language and culture in Tbilisi, the country’s capital.
Boren awards are sponsored by the National Security Education Program, a federal initiative designed to build a broader and more qualified pool of U.S. citizens with foreign language and international skills.
“This gives me a way to communicate on the same level and break the language barriers,” she said, adding she's also studying Spanish and Korean languages.
Dabney said her interest for learning different languages grew while working with exchange students at the university.
“Knowing a different language gives you more insight into different cultures," she said.
Dabney received a $3,000 grant in 2012 to study in Tbilisi and Gori while working with an FSU foreign exchange student and Georgian native.
She returned for three months to the two Georgian cities last summer through the FSU’s Social Sciences Scholars program.
In addition to returning to Tbilisi this year for a nine-month stay, Dabney will study at the Hansung University in Seoul, South Korea.
The university’s Center for Global Engagement selected her to study there on a $4,000 scholarship.
Craig Filar, FSU's director of National Fellowships and assistant dean of Undergraduate Studies, said the scholarship recipients are “ideal student ambassadors who embody the core values of Florida State.”
As for Dabney, the scholarship's benefit is really quite simple.
“I am getting the opportunity to go to a place I really care about,” she said.