William & Mary

W&M english major receives scholarship 
to study abroad at Oxford

  • Bezi Yohannes
    Bezi Yohannes  “I knew that it would be very expensive — almost something that would be too out of reach — until I heard that through this scholarship program it was something more achievable.”  
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From an early age, Bezawit Yohannes loved stories. Her fondness for reading and writing provoked a friend to challenge the preteen to write a book, and Yohannes found herself working on her first novel at age eleven.

“Generally when someone says there is something you can’t do, I’ll do it. And it worked out that I really loved writing and this cemented my love for it, even though it was a long process to finish the book up.”

When she was fourteen her book Secrets of Meynch was published, paving the way for future study in William & Mary’s English and Medieval Renaissance Studies programs. Her interest in fantasy, history, and medieval literature also prompted a desire to study abroad for a semester in England.

“Oxford has been a pipe dream of mine since I was really little…ever since I knew I wanted to get into fantasy and medieval literature. England is the center of a lot of that history.” Drawn to William & Mary for a variety of reasons, Yohannes says she looked for schools that provided study abroad programs of interest.

Now a junior at William & Mary, the young author recently received a scholarship to study abroad at the University of Oxford during the spring semester of 2017. The award from the Global Education Office at the Reves Center for International Studies recognizes a student’s high academic and extracurricular achievements. William & Mary students majoring in History, International Relations or English wishing to study abroad at the University of Oxford were eligible to apply for the scholarship.

“I knew that it would be very expensive — almost something that would be too out of reach —until I heard that through this scholarship program it was something more achievable,” Yohannes says. The scholarship, combined with the ability to apply current financial aid to study abroad, made the dream possible for Yohannes.

Applications for the Oxford Study Abroad program have a different timeframe than other study abroad programs facilitated by the Reves Center. “The application for the Oxford program is due December 7 for the 2017-2018 academic year in order to sync with their academic schedule,” Sarah Mullen, Global Education Advisor explains. “Students wishing to apply to the study abroad program in Oxford should plan a year in advance.”

Starting an independent study on one of her favorite British authors this fall, Yohannes plans to continue her study on C.S. Lewis while in Oxford. She attributes much of her intrigue in the fantasy genre to this author, and hopes to implement his artful skill of layering meaning within fantastical storytelling.

Upon return from her study abroad experience in Oxford, Yohannes plans to work on her senior honors thesis while finalizing her second book.