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Tuesday, September 25, 2012 - Educational award encourages international travel for OU students
Oakland University has received a $25,000 endowment from the Michigan Council of Hostelling International USA to establish the Gerald Pearsall Memorial Travel Award for educational travel by OU students. The award’s primary goal is to support student travel and to enhance student experiences through hosteling.

“We would like the award to go to a person who normally could not afford this type of experience without monetary assistance,” explained Michael Dwyer, president of the Board of HI-USA Michigan Council.

“This award will support students in undertaking independent projects nationally and internationally, exploring the world outside Michigan using the resources of Hostelling International,” said Dr. Carolyn O'Mahony, a lifelong Hostelling International member, and associate professor of education at Oakland.

“The Board of HI-USA Michigan Council was looking for a way to use a bequest from the estate of Gerald Pearsall to promote the use of Hostelling International amongst young Michiganders,” said O’Mahony. “As a board member who works with young people every day, I proposed endowing HI-USA - Michigan Council Gerald Pearsall Memorial Travel Scholarships at local universities. The other board members readily agreed, many of them having traveled for decades with Hostelling International. They liked the idea of establishing endowments that could be added to by other HI-USA Michigan Council members.”

Hostelling International offers clean, safe, low cost accommodations for travelers of any age around the globe. Travelers have a choice of staying in dormitories or in private rooms. HI hostels also offer secure storage, easy internet access and shared common spaces, such as kitchens and lounges.

Most hostels also offer very social environments where travelers from all over the world can share their cultures and exchange information about their native lands and travels.

To be considered for the award, an Oakland student must be a member of Hostelling International USA (hiusa.org.) and have a GPA of 2.8 or higher. Applicants must submit a proposal that outlines travel plans and the educational benefits of the travel. Award recipients are encouraged to share their travel experiences through blogging, reports, or other forms of presentation.

“The money can be used for any educational travel involving hostels,” said Brian Connery, director of OU's International Education and Study Abroad programs. “For example, a student could apply for this fund to help underwrite a winter break trip to Paris to look at public sculpture. This award could be used for travel before or after a study abroad program, but would probably not be used during the course of such a program.”
Application deadlines are April 1 and October 1. Forms and details will be available on the International Education website beginning Sept. 1.

For additional study-abroad information, visit the website or the International Education Facebook page. To schedule an advising appointment, contact Shirley Campbell at 248-370-2889.

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