English Alumna Recipient of the Boren Scholarship Shares Her Experience

October 14, 2014

The English Department is proud to have had Taylor Osborne, a 2013 alumnus, represent the University of Maryland and the College of Arts and Humanities as a recipient of the Boren Scholarship during the 2012-2013 academic year.

“Boren Scholarships provide American students with the resources and encouragement they need to acquire skills and experiences in areas of the world critical to the future security of our nation, in exchange for their commitment to seek work in the federal government” (Boren Awards).

Before applying for the Boren Scholarship, Taylor knew she wanted to work for the federal government with a career involving international relations. As required by the acceptance of the scholarship, Taylor is now working for the private sector of national security in the federal government, but said she hopes to switch to public service in the near future.

Her desire to work with the government attracted Taylor to the Boren Scholarship, which she found while searching for other national scholarships. She also wanted the chance to study abroad, while honing her language skills and learning a different culture.

Taylor chose to use her scholarship to study abroad in Japan. Although Taylor’s second major was Japanese, she “found it difficult to learn the language in a completely English speaking environment.” Immersing herself in the Japanese environment not only allowed her to improve these language skills but learn the culture both inside and outside of the classroom.

Taylor found many ways to immerse herself into the Japanese culture; one of her favorites was through living with a host family. Unlike the experience of living in a dormitory, living in a Japanese home gave Taylor more experience in practicing Japanese.

“They were extremely friendly and excited to share their culture with me,” Taylor said. “I believe that I had a more fulfilling experience during my stay than I would have if I stayed in a dormitory.”

Another piece of advice Taylor said she would give to students who are granted the Boren Scholarship would be to join as many extra-curricular circles as possible. “Circles are great ways to meet students from your host country and make friends,” she said. “They also force you to interact with people and to put your language skills to use.”

As for being an English major, Taylor said this helped her in two ways: with her current job in the federal government and with the scholarship application essays. Being employed in the printing industry, Taylor occasionally proofreads jobs before they are printed – something her English degree helped her prepare for. Her English degree also prepared her for the extensive scholarship application, which included several essays that require research. Taylor said “thanks to my strong background in English, I was able to research my chosen topic thoroughly and write strong essays.”

“Looking back, I had so many amazing experiences, met fascinating people and learned so much from these groups,” she said. “It was an awesome experience and one of the most rewarding of my life thus far.”

Interested in applying for a Boren Scholarship? Contact Dr. Francis DuVinage at nsepboren@umd.edu as early as possible. The deadline is January 23, 2015.

For more information about the Boren Scholarship, visit here.