Hong Kong Carolina Club Scholarship Takes Students to China

Jashawnna Gladney had never set foot outside the United States. But then last summer she studied in China, thanks to the Hong Kong Carolina Club, which started a study abroad scholarship program last year to expose undergraduate students to a fast-growing part of the world.

Gladney, a sophomore pre-nursing major, said the experience sparked her curiosity in Eastern approaches to medical care. She learned about acupuncture, herbal gardens and the concept of Chi, lessons she says may help her bring new ideas to the health care field.

“I definitely think it broadened my perspective,” she said. “The class was good and provided us with a lot of background information, but I would like to go deeper with it.”

Gladney was one of two students the Hong Kong Club Carolina brought overseas to study at the University of China in Hong Kong, marking the first time that any of the roughly 85 international UNC alumni clubs has supported a scholarship of any type, said Casey Privette ’01, coordinator of regional engagement and clubs support for the GAA.

The club pledged $42,000 toward the scholarship program, enough to fully fund two students each summer for three years. The scholarship is available exclusively to Carolina Covenant scholars — high-performing, low-income students enrolled in a work-study program that allows them to graduate debt-free.

Privette said the scholarship could set an example for other clubs considering starting a similar program. “If other clubs do show interest, this will be a model for them follow,” he said.

The second recipient of this year’s Hong Kong scholarship, junior anthropology major Melody Lee, said the trip gave her the travel bug. After the program ended, she backpacked around Southeast Asia and spent the fall in Seoul learning about her family’s heritage.

“The best thing about study abroad programs is that you’re able to make relationships and friendships with people all across the world,” she said.

 — Brian Freskos

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