Want to win a free summer overseas? You could be one of several EKU students to be awarded an all-expenses paid trip to study abroad – the catch is you’ll have to spin the wheel first.
This is all a part of the Study Abroad office’s “Spin the Wheel Scholarship” event. Now in its third year, the event is open to all EKU full-time students with a 2.5 GPA or higher. This event is occurring on January 31 at 3:00 p.m. in the O’Donnell Auditorium in the Whitlock building.
Students selected in a drawing get to spin a giant, colorful wheel that features 10 locations including Belize, Ireland, London, Scotland, Japan, Germany, China, Costa Rica, Italy and Spain. Wherever the student lands is where they are headed with all program costs and airfare covered by the university.
“Spin the Wheel” provides an opportunity for students who wouldn’t normally be able to study abroad to be given a full ride to the country they land on,” said Jennifer White, who runs the Education Abroad program at EKU.
To enter, students fill out an application on the study abroad page on EKU’s website, placing their name into a drawing with the other applicants’. On the day of the event, seven students’ names will be drawn. Students who get their name drawn will get the opportunity to spin the wheel, White said. And their spin determines where they will be going this summer.
Colin Compton, a senior Broadcast major from Belfry, Kentucky, was one of six EKU students chosen in 2015 to spin the wheel. He went to Japan during the summer of 2015.
“I watched Benson pull my name out of the basket and say it to himself before he could read it into the microphone. I stood up and was halfway to the stage before he announced my name to the crowd. I read my name on his lips,” Compton said about winning the scholarship.
“Japan was the most interesting place I’ve ever been. It was so clean, and everyone was so polite,” Compton said. “One of the highlights of my trip was standing next to the spot where the nuke went off in Hiroshima. It was an amazing experience.”
On the wheel are possibilities for students to go to ten different locations. There are also two other spots, one labeled “Student’s Choice” and the other labeled “President’s Choice.” If a student lands on “Student’s Choice,” they can choose any of the places on the wheel. If a student lands on “President’s Choice,” President Benson gets to choose the place for the student.
Another student who won from spinning the wheel was Mikayla Wilk, a junior ASL-English Interpretation major. Wilk won a trip to London for a month over the summer.
“In London, I was able to see just about everything and more than I could ever dream of,” Mikayla said of her trip. “We had some free weekends over the month-long span that I was able to be there so I went to Scotland for a weekend and see Edinburgh and visit where Hogwarts was filmed for the Harry Potter movies, as well as go to France and see Paris and venture down to Normandy and see the beach of D-Day.”
To participate in the drawing, students must first fill out an application online before Friday, January 27. The application, which is found on the study abroad page on EKU’s website, consists of fewer than ten questions and is easy to fill out, White said. Students must also meet eligibility requirements. For instance, students must be full-time and maintain at least a 2.5 GPA. After that, the only thing each student needs to do is be present in O’Donnell Auditorium in the Whitlock building on January 31 at 3 p.m.
If a student happens to have class at that time (or is an online or extended campus student) and is selected as a winner, President Benson will spin for the student.
White said that the trips serve as more than just a chance to see the world. They’re also a way to improve one’s career opportunities.
“Many employers are actually looking for students who have had international experience,” White said, “Studying abroad has put them head and shoulders above others.”