Georgia Highlands College (GHC) student Kristina Von Nordeck was recently able to follow one of her longtime dreams by visiting Scotland, thanks in part to the Cook Study Abroad Scholarship from the GHC Foundation.
This summer, the Bachelor’s in Health Sciences major was able to spend two weeks in historic Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland, while earning college credit through the University System of Georgia (USG) USG Goes Global program.
“Scotland has always been on my bucket list of places to visit,” Von Nordeck said. “The beauty of Scotland is surreal. It is where Heaven meets Earth.”
Von Nordeck took History and Parapsychology classes while abroad, learning traditions of the Scottish people, like ghosts, legends and folklore. She said she enjoyed meeting the residents and experiencing the culture first-hand.
“I also wanted to research my ancestry as I was able to trace my family line back to 700 A.D. in Scotland,” she said. “I was able to find and see a church my family established to help those in need in the 16th and 17th century. It was a homecoming in a sense.”
Her experiences on the trip are something Von Nordeck said she will remember for the rest of her life.
“This has changed my life forever, for the better,” Von Nordeck said. “I have developed a deeper appreciation for history and culture and built amazing friendships along the way it is too amazing to put into words. I hope to return one day and give my children this experience as well.”
She learned about the GHC Foundation’s Cook Study Abroad Scholarship from Office of Financial Aid at GHC.
“I found out there was financial aid and scholarships to help, otherwise this may have not been something I could afford as a single mom,” Von Nordeck said. “It was a once in a lifetime chance I decided to take.”
She said she recommends anyone who is on the fence about engaging in study abroad opportunities to follow through with their ambition.
“If it is your dream, follow it. It is a once in a lifetime opportunity and a chance to make memories and friendships that will last a lifetime,” Von Nordeck said.
Von Nordeck also recommended students take advantage of and apply for other financial aid available through the Office of Financial Aid and scholarships through the GHC Foundation. In addition to the Cook Study Abroad Scholarship, she has received the U.S. State Department’s Benjamin Gilman International Scholarship and the Juniors Pursuing Graduation Scholarship.
“Never say never. There is financial aid to help offset any cost and we have amazing advisors to help with the process,” Von Nordeck said. “When you work on your essays for scholarships, speak from your heart and let the reader get to know you.”
Von Nordeck plans to graduate GHC in spring 2023 and to apply to Emory University’s Physician Assistant program.
“It is never too late, and you are never too old to follow your dreams and passion,” she said. “Look at me, a 37-year-old single mom and getting to see the world thanks to GHC and the amazing advisors who work there.”