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NKU Freshman Receives $10K Scholarship to Study in Japan

Lacey Gerdes fell in love with the language and traditions of Japanese culture as a child. Now, the Northern Kentucky University freshman will have the opportunity to spend an entire year immersing herself in the country’s culture and language.

Gerdes, 18, of Hebron, has received a $10,000 scholarship through the Fund for Education Abroad to study at Gifu University, a NKU partner institution located central Japan near Nagoya, for the 2016-17 academic year.

The FEA is a national nonprofit based in Washington, D.C. It awards just 25 scholarships annually to students who wish to study abroad, and Gerdes is the first NKU student to receive a FEA award.

“I am thankful and excited for the opportunity to continue my Japanese studies at Gifu University,” Gerdes said. “My goal is to become fluent, so I want to study the language intensively.”

This will be her third trip to Japan: Gerdes participated in a student exchange program as a student at Conner High School, and later returned to visit her host family. She plans to reconnect with the family while studying abroad next year. (Follow her past and future travels on YouTube.) Gerdes also studied Japanese at NKU during high school through the School-Based Scholars dual enrollment program.

“I really like the language, and also how the Japanese culture is so different from ours: their traditions, holidays, religions, and their customs,” she said.

During her time abroad, Gerdes will receive support from NKU’s Office of Education Abroad, located in the Center for Global Engagement and International Affairs. Approximately 350 NKU students study abroad each year.

“We are proud to support Lacey and all of our students who dream of advancing their education beyond the borders of our nation,” said Dr. François Le Roy, executive director of the Center for Global Engagement and International Affairs.

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From Northern Kentucky University/Photo: Lacey Gerdes (provided)

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