Enterprising students find unique ways to fund study abroad

SJSU students solicited sponsorships, baked and found other ways to raise money to head to Paris

By Linda Levine, Health Science and Recreation, College of Applied Sciences and Arts, and David Buseck, Global Studies, College of Social Science

Nearly everyone I have ever met who has studied abroad agrees that to do so is worth every penny spent. Unfortunately, the steep price tag frightens many students off before they begin. While the numbers might deter interested students away, it’s important to note that not only the wealthy students travel – it is the creative and determined ones who find themselves studying in France with us each summer on the Faculty-Led Program “Paris: City of Cultures!”

Students in Linda Levine and David Buseck's faculty-led studio abroad program visited the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

Students in Linda Levine and David Buseck’s faculty-led study abroad program visited the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

For our 2013 Faculty-Led Program to Paris, Hospitality Management Student Sarah Moline took our suggestion to write a letter to potential supporters and she was delighted at the response. Sarah made contact with potential sponsors through snail mail and e-mail. Her list included friends, relatives, co-workers, old teachers, service agencies, her religious institution and others. She reminded people who she was, she included photos of herself and iconic French locations. She emitted a contagious enthusiasm for her upcoming experience highlighting how learning about French culture and visiting businesses in France would support her career goals. She included details about the program and how she believed our study abroad experience was an investment in her future. She said that sponsorship for this experience would be the perfect graduation present in advance. She followed up with individual thank you notes, a group newsletter during the trip and a personal post card to donors who gave $100 or more.

Health Science major Jayne Baltazar baked her way to “Paris: City of Cultures” ’14 by selling delicious macarons, the favorite sweet of the French. This was not a small bake sale: Jayne paid for her airfare, tuition, housing, food and everything associated with the trip by selling 7,000 macarons at approximately a $1 a piece. If you do the math that is $7,000 raised from the time of acceptance in the Fall until the plane took off in June! She has been so successful that she now intends to pay off her student loans this way to be debt free at graduation. She is also considering baking as part of her future.

In 2012, two creative students got their families and friends involved by saving glass bottles to recycle. Other resourceful student travellers reached out to family friends offering to cater or act as servers and dishwashers for fall and winter holiday meals and parties around Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Eve. They earned hundreds of dollars each night. Students who were committed to our study abroad moved home for the semester, took out loans, took second jobs or drastically restricted spending to ensure they had the money to make the trip possible.

Health Science student Jayne Baltazar baked and sold macarons to raise money to attend a faculty-led program in Paris.

Health Science student Jayne Baltazar baked and sold macarons to raise money to attend a faculty-led program in Paris.

With the benefit of ingenuity, creativity, confidence and perseverance students can embark on a fundraising journey that paves the way for their global experience. When Jayne was asked about her favorite aspects of her study abroad experience she said paying for it herself through her new business endeavor, Macaron by Jayne, was high on the list of associated joys and personal accomplishments. Eating macarons at famous boulangeries (bakeries) and patisseries (pastry shops) while fulfilling her dream to travel to Paris was a close second. And, making the “Paris: City of Cultures” video to entice future students to study abroad with us was a near third!

For more information on the Faculty-Led Program “Paris: City of Cultures” contact Linda.Levine@sjsu.edu.

To view a video promoting the program by Jayne Baltazar, visit: Video Link:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bqe5kMMcVvo&feature=youtu.be