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Blake Jones

Recent Graduate Receives Scholarship for Five-Month Study Abroad Experience

By Brooke Nagorski ‘17, public relations major

Blake Jones ’14 has always had a zest for travel. The more exotic the location, the better. The public relations major from St. Louis, Mo., was desperately looking for a way to afford travel abroad when he heard from fellow Otterbein students Jerrin Hill and Denton Warburton that funds might be available to help him travel. And now, thanks to his recently awarded $4,000 Gilman Scholarship, Jones will study abroad in Brazil, one of his most sought-after destinations.

Receiving the award has meant a lot to Jones because he won’t need to rely on anyone else for his travel costs. He says he has always felt drawn to Brazil and plans to study Portuguese, Brazilian literature, art and dance. He also plans to learn how to surf.

“Without the scholarship I would not have been able to afford this experience,” Jones said. “Travel abroad isn’t cheap, what with airfare and all the other expenses of the study abroad program.”

From late August to mid-December, Jones will be embarking on his five-month journey to Brazil. He will be living with a host family in Florianopolis, Brazil, located in the southeastern region of the country.

“Florianopolis is one of the nicest suburban areas to live in and two of the better schools in Brazil are there,” Jones said. He’ll be studying at the Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina, ranked as one of the top 10 universities in Latin America. Founded in 1917, the university has more than 32,000 students.

While in Brazil, Jones plans to explore as many cities as possible. With his newly purchased camera, he hopes to capture many of the beautiful landscapes found throughout the country, including the mountains, rainforest and beaches.

Not only will this trip be beautiful and rich in culture, Jones also has the opportunity to study a new language while staying with a host family.

“Otterbein does a good job of encouraging students to study abroad and get a variety of student experiences,” Jones said. “I attended a lot of talks by students who studied abroad. I heard so many wonderful experiences that I became interested in studying abroad.”