University of South Florida St. Petersburg



Giving Week funds to help USF St. Petersburg students study internationally

Giving Week 2024

From left to right: USF St. Petersburg students during education abroad trips to Germany, Iceland and Italy.

By Matthew Cimitile, University Communications and Marketing

For students who have the opportunity, studying abroad can be a pivotal moment in their lives.

“It was the most impactful experience of my academic career,” said Taylor Herman, a political science major at USF St. Petersburg who spent last summer learning about the Holocaust by visiting concentration camps and memorials in Poland, the Czech Republic and Germany. 

During Giving Week, when the USF community and beyond raises funds for a variety of initiatives, officials from the St. Petersburg campus hope to give more students similar experiences through a new study abroad scholarship program. Funds raised will provide students with immersive educational opportunities to explore different cultures, foster a deeper understanding of global issues and broaden perspectives.

“There are so many positives for students who participate in education abroad programs, especially in developing intercultural and communication skills sought after by employers in a global workplace,” said Wendy Baker, director of USF World on the St. Petersburg campus. “Students also become a lot more independent throughout this process, learning how to solve problems on their own for the first time, from booking air travel to navigating the local transportation system to exchanging currency.” 

Last academic year, more than 100 USF St. Petersburg students studied abroad. The most popular destinations were London, Florence and Paris. 

Such experiences develop greater cultural awareness in an increasingly interconnected world, enriching what students learn in the classroom. It is also an attractive travel option for students who have never been overseas, providing a structured environment overseen by a faculty member, with an opportunity to meet new friends and earn academic credit. 

"My trip to Iceland was the most transformative educational experience of my life so far, full of breathtaking views, innovative technologies and unforgettable memories," said Kelsey Sherman. Sherman traveled to Iceland to learn about how the country is utilizing geothermal energy and hydropower technologies for a renewable energy and sustainability course.

The biggest barrier for many students to go abroad is financial. The average cost for a semester abroad is $11,250, a figure that typically doesn’t include tuition or airfare. 

Funds raised during the Giving Week drive will directly contribute to covering tuition, travel and accommodation costs, ensuring that future students can embark on life-changing journeys that would otherwise be out of reach.

“Studying abroad in Exeter was an excellent opportunity to meet people from around the world, experience college in a new way and take part in weekly excursions to see different parts of England,” said Thomas Nicholls, who spent a semester immersed in English culture while studying at the University of Exeter. 

Become one of the generous donors to give to the new study abroad scholarship fund from April 8-12 to help USF St. Petersburg make these experiences possible for students. A matching gift from Baker, her husband Jason Hughes and the software development company SAP that he works for will provide $1,500 to the fund when it reaches its 40-donor goal.

Learn more about Giving Week, where the USF community contributes to initiatives that propel student achievement, faculty research and programs that enrich the community, here

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