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Communications Student Earns Scholarship to Study Abroad in Japan

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Studying abroad is a life-changing opportunity for students to explore a new country while furthering their academic and professional careers. For one Cal State Fullerton student, Kyle McCaghren, Japan became the destination of choice after receiving a prestigious scholarship.

McCaghren was awarded the Freeman Asia Scholarship, a study abroad scholarship offered by the Institute of International Education. He will be studying at Okayama University in Okayama, Japan, during the 2024-25 academic year.

McCaghren, a communications major with a concentration in journalism, discovered his passion for Japanese culture about three years ago.

“I do work as a play-by-play commentator in esports, and at the time, I was offered the opportunity to do some of the online English broadcasts for events that were being hosted in Japan by Japanese esports organizations,” said McCaghren. “Since then, I have been exploring different aspects of Japanese culture, such as the language, history, music, pop culture and more, and it has only furthered my interest and desire to experience Japan.”

During his study abroad program at Okayama University, McCaghren’s coursework will primarily focus on language studies. “I will be taking courses in Japanese reading and writing, Japanese grammar and vocabulary, and speaking and conversational Japanese,” he said. He will also take courses in intercultural communications and Japanese history.

Beyond academics, he is also excited about fully immersing himself in Japan’s rich culture, from the food and history to the people and language.

“I have had a long-standing fascination with it all, and I want to experience as much of it as possible during my time out there,” said McCaghren. “Outside of that, I am really looking forward to finally being able to meet the friends from my work a couple of years ago who were the ones who introduced it all to me in the first place. Being able to meet them in person after all this time is something I am really excited about.”

In addition to the Freeman Asia Award, McCaghren was the recipient of the John and Jessie Maxwell Scholarship, the Tom Pasqua Scholarship and the Bergstrom Family Scholarship. He encourages other students to apply for scholarships, emphasizing that it doesn’t hurt to try.

“I never thought I was going to get any scholarship for this program when I sent in all of these applications, but if I didn’t try at the very least, then I didn’t even give myself the chance,” he said. “And now I have been blessed to receive the Freeman Asia Award, but also three other scholarships. The financial relief receiving these scholarships has provided is almost indescribable and is something I would never have had the privilege of experiencing if I didn’t try to send in these scholarship applications.”

To learn more about study abroad and scholarship opportunities for Cal State Fullerton students, visit Study Abroad & Global Engagement website.

Charis Hill