Our 2021 Full Ride Scholarship Winner is Nada Abdulaziz, a biological sciences major and Pell Grant recipient at the University of Pittsburgh who will be studying abroad at Korea University as part of our Summer in Seoul program.
When asked about her upcoming adventure, Nada said, “I’m most looking forward to being able to embed myself into the Korean culture and getting to see what life really is like outside of the K-dramas that I love very much. The number one most important thing on my to do list is visiting Seoul’s Starfield Library…I also can’t wait to have a true Korean barbeque experience and try bulgogi!”
Born in Baghdad, Iraq, Nada realized at an early age that she would face many difficulties throughout her life. In 2013, her family moved to the United States with no knowledge of the new world in which they arrived. Understanding that her parents could not help her pay for college, Nada began working part-time jobs to save up to fund her education.
No one she knew had ever attended college, so she had very little assistance in the application process. “Due to all the stepping stones that I needed to build myself in order to become a college student, I found myself valuing my education more than anything else,” she said, which led her to graduate high school early with a 4.2 GPA.
Nada is involved in various groups that support first-generation college students at the University of Pittsburgh. She also works with SCIOLY, a program that runs academic competitions for high school and middle school students. Off campus, her proudest involvement is with the Muslim mosque in her community, where she holds free sessions for immigrant children and anyone who needs assistance with their college application process or with finding their passions.
In 2019, Nada and her mother traveled back to the Middle East, with stops in Turkey, Kurdistan, and Iraq. She used her time abroad to understand the society she could have been a part of had her family not moved to the United States. “I found myself becoming a [well-rounded] person who has somehow managed to embed myself in different societies and cultures, yet still developed my own identity that welcomes both Western and Eastern traditions. Although I did not travel for an educational purpose, I found education in the midst of travel for leisure,” she said.
Looking ahead to her study abroad program in Seoul, she’s excited to understand how education is valued in Korean society compared to the U.S. and Iraq. “Another goal I wish to achieve during my time in Seoul is the ability to leave my comfort zone and become a person who’s capable of adapting and becoming a part of a completely unique society,” said Nada.
“This scholarship, to me, means getting to have the full experience of being abroad without having to worry about loans and panicking about affordability. Money has always played one of the biggest factors in receiving the best education I can, and the Full Ride Scholarship helps me focus on learning instead of finances,” she said. “I strongly believe that through my time abroad taking classes that I would have taken in the United States, I [will be able] to bring in outside perspectives that are necessary for the improvement of American medicine and society all together.”
About the Full Ride Scholarship
The TEAN Full Ride Scholarship covers tuition, program fees and orientation, and is awarded in addition to our regular collection of semester and summer scholarships.
You can learn more about our programs and opt to receive updates from TEAN including future scholarship announcements by submitting your information here.