Two white male students sit at a round table. One holds up a book with the title elementary Japanese.

Students Awarded Study Abroad Scholarships

Undergraduates Matt Luther and Trenton Woodcox will study Japanese language and culture.

Michigan Technological University undergraduates Matt Luther and Trenton Woodcox win Japan Business Society of Detroit (JBSD) Scholarships for their 2018-19 study abroad in Japan.

Michigan Tech undergraduate students Matt Luther and Trenton Woodcox are two of four recipients to win a Japan Business Society of Detroit (JBSD) Foundation scholarship to study Japanese language and culture at the Japan Center for Michigan Universities (JCMU) in Hikone, Shiga Prefecture, Japan. They will arrive in September, and study on JCMU’s campus the entire 2018-19 academic year. The $4,000 scholarships will offset travel, tuition and living expenses. 

Motivated by career goals, both are certain their year abroad will set them up for success in competitive professions.  

Luther, an English major with a minor in teaching English to speakers of other languages (TESOL), says he "was interested in Japanese culture from a young age. After I graduate, I plan to go to Japan to teach English long term.”

Woodcox is pursuing a bachelor's degree in social sciences with a focus in law and society. Expected to graduate in 2020, he says he wants to “work on international policy or law at the U.N., work at an embassy like the Japanese embassy or work with the CIA (Central Intelligence Agency) in country profiling, so I think (studying abroad in Japan) will definitely help a lot.”

From one shore to another

Luther and Woodcox will navigate many foreign experiences during their year in Japan. Food, travel, communication and entertainment could make for a steep learning curve, but the landscape of their temporary home will feel somewhat familiar. 

 JCMU is located on the eastern shore of Lake Biwa, Japan’s largest freshwater lake—a reminder of Keweenaw shores. But neither Husky expects to be homesick. Both are eager to immerse in Japanese culture and language. Luther says he chose the homestay program over staying in the dorm for the fullest cultural immersion he can get.

Luther and Woodcox found out about the JBSD scholarship through Michigan Tech International Programs and Services (IPS). They encourage other Huskies to pursue study abroad opportunities. With so many options, choosing a country is one of the most challenging aspects. Woodcox says he chose Japan because he “wanted a culture that is significantly different from American culture. Their culture just evolved so differently from ours.”

The annual JBSD scholarships, designed to enhance mutual understanding between Michigan and Japan, may be awarded to undergraduate students at any Michigan university.

"I'm thrilled that this year two recipients are Michigan Tech students," says IPS Study Abroad Coordinator Vienna Chapin. "I am confident that while studying in Japan both Trenton and Matt will be great representations of just how crazy smart Michigan Tech students are." 

Michigan Technological University is a public research university founded in 1885 in Houghton, Michigan, and is home to more than 7,000 students from 55 countries around the world. Consistently ranked among the best universities in the country for return on investment, Michigan’s flagship technological university offers more than 120 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in science and technology, engineering, computing, forestry, business and economics, health professions, humanities, mathematics, social sciences, and the arts. The rural campus is situated just miles from Lake Superior in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, offering year-round opportunities for outdoor adventure.