Redwing Abroad

Lauren Firgens

Being engulfed in a country’s culture for a year is an experience most kids within their 4 years of high school couldn’t imagine doing, but that’s exactly what Freshman Andrew Kittelson is going to be doing during his sophomore year of High School. Kittelson had been spending his time, since October, planning to be involved in studying abroad. When asked how he found out about the opportunity of leaving the country for a year of schooling, he replied by saying, “When I first started exploring my options for studying abroad, I really wanted to go to Spain. I quickly realized that going abroad without a scholarship wasn’t realistic, so I started exploring scholarship opportunities…”. He came in contact with three different scholarship programs, The National Security Language Initiative for Youth, Kennedy Lugar YES Abroad, and Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange.

Accepted!-Andrew Kittelson ‘holding’ the email that granted him the scholarship to go to Germany for a year of studying abroad.

Most people within their high school life could never afford the crazy cost that comes with studying abroad. With the scholarship that Kittelson came in contact with, all of his costs have been paid: the plain ticket, the food, the clothes, and anything else you could plan on needing for a year away from home. In total the tuition was roughly around $16,000. Kittelson had many choices on where he wanted to spend his year abroad. He had the opportunity to go to Malaysia and Germany. He was leaning towards Germany, but still yet awaiting another acceptance email from another scholarship program to go to Morocco. Kittelson has had the chance to meet a lot of people he never would have had the chance to meet through this program. He said, “You meet people at the interviews [and] you meet people in the Facebook group for applicants…”, and he claims to have made over 200 new Facebook friends through the studying abroad program. He also said that the application process, “Basically becomes your life for the next following year(s)”. This process is stressful on anybody, even more so on a freshman in high school. Kittelson said there wasn’t a single part of the application process that wasn’t stressful. After writing essays upon essays for each scholarship application, he had to go to interviews, and then after the interviews he was left to wait. Months went by before Kittelson had gotten an email of acceptance. He said, “There is never an exact set date for finalist notifications… ” After he and other applicants had guessed that the letters would be sent out during March, Kittelson then said, “… So when March rolled around you can bet we all had our computers out 24/7 checking our emails.” Nevertheless, Kittelson still encourages all students who are even slightly interested to study abroad, and are willing to put all the effort into the process, to try and apply! “YES Abroad is recognized as the most prestigious State Department Scholarship and the majority of the program participants go on to the top schools in the country,” said Kittelson. He is only the second person from the county to get accepted. Kittelson claimed he is going to make sure word about the programs he was involved in, gets spread throughout Sheboygan. Hopefully, in future years, there will be a staggering number of Sheboygan County High School students getting involved with the amazing opportunities that come along with studying abroad. Kittelson will likely be out of the country from August 2016 through July 2017.