Otterbein Student Travels to Japan for Exchange Program
Posted Jun 18, 2021
By Madelyn Nelson ’23
Pranith Madishetti knows the value of an Otterbein education on-campus in Westerville, but he is ready to take his potential across the ocean to gain even more experiences. Madishetti will be spending a full academic year at Otterbein’s exchange partner, Kansai Gaidai University in Osaka, Japan.
Madishetti is a rising junior with double majors in psychology and global studies, and a minor in sociology from Dublin, Ohio. While studying abroad is an incredible experience, it comes with a price tag. With the help of Otterbein’s Student Success and Career Development, Madishetti applied for and earned a scholarship to help him with this once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Pranith earned the Benjamin A Gilman International Scholarship through the U.S. Department of State for his year-long study abroad trip to Japan. The scholarship supports more than 1,500 students across 467 colleges and universities in all 50 states. Madishetti has also earned scholarships from Otterbein University to make his trip possible.
“The scholarship has given me money that has really allowed me to feel more financially safe when my study abroad occurs,” said Madishetti. “Since I will have great difficulty getting money while abroad, I have been attempting to save up as much money as I can in the time I have.”
Scholarships do not just cover the cost of the trip and tuition, but help students make the most of their study abroad experience.
“At the same time, I also wanted to use this money to help pursue other opportunities that may arise while I am abroad like an internship or simply traveling the country,” explained Madishetti. “Those activities I felt really worried about when it came to financing them, but thanks to this scholarship and a few others, I feel much safer and more excited for my experience.”
The scholarship application has several steps with multiple essays and statements, including an essay about his interest in studying the Japanese language and a proposal for a project he will complete upon his return to the United States. The application process made Madishetti reflect on his desire to study abroad in the first place.
“I believe deciding to study abroad also paved the way to explore future career opportunities for me post-college, which has even motivated me more to study abroad,” said Madishetti. “Currently, my motivation to study abroad is much grander than simply satisfying my wish to travel; instead, I have career aspirations that will be immensely aided by this opportunity.”
Madishetti was originally going to study abroad in spring 2021, but when the program was postponed because of the pandemic, he decided to go for a full year instead. Madishetti will begin his journey in 2022, and he hopes to stay in Japan after his educational experience with an internship.
“Kansai Gaidai University also offers an internship program for international students during the summer, which I hope to take advantage of since that experience will provide me with a lot of employable skills,” Madishetti said. “Above all, I plan to watch and observe to see what other opportunities I may have while making sure to have time to travel myself to see such a country.”
Otterbein’s Study Abroad Coordinator Michelle Dippold has been working with Madishetti since he began pursuing study abroad trips at the beginning of his freshman year of college.
“The fact that he [applied for the Gillman Scholarship] is really great, especially knowing that he wants to go for a full year and he’s studying Japanese, which is considered a critical need for the U.S. government,” said Dippold. “I think [this] is something he’s really passionate about, something that he’s excited and eager about, and I think really aligns nicely with what he wants to do.”
Madishetti hopes to begin studying abroad in the spring of 2022. Due to complications and cancellations from the pandemic, the trip has been adjusted several times to follow international travel guidelines. Madishetti remains positive and persistent until it’s time for him to take his next education and career steps in Japan.
Madishetti offers encouragement to other students who may want to study abroad but feel like the financial weight is too heavy. He cites external scholarships, like the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship, and Otterbein scholarships, like Knights Family and Childers Family Award for International Study, as making a study abroad an achievable goal.
“Many students fear the financial worries study abroad can bring to one’s mind, but these scholarships can ease the burden plenty,” said Madishetti.
Regardless of where students want to study, the length of their trip, scholarships, or major, Dippold wants them to know that her office is open.
“It has been my goal that at the end of the day, even if a student doesn’t study abroad, they at least know where to go and who to talk to about their questions,” said Dippold.