Naomy Huaman, is a junior from Athens, Georgia, pursuing a degree in international affairs. Huaman earned a Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship to study abroad in Japan in summer 2019.

In this article, she describes the challenges and rewards associated with her study in Japan.

Dr. Chris Kroh interviewed Naomy

What was the process like culminating in the opportunity to study in Japan and how did the PSIA department help you to reach this goal?

Naomy Huaman: “I will be studying Religion in Japan and Analysis of Popular Culture in the Japanese Society. I come from various campuses in UNG and everyone has helped me along the way. I first entered the Oconee Campus where I met Dr. Parish and he recommended me to speak with Dr. Lin to set a plan of what I want to do in my college journey. For me studying abroad was a huge stretch since I am a first generation Latina student, but speaking with Dr. Lin made me see the many options I had and that it could be done. This gave me the push to look more into possible programs I could apply for.”


What happened next? How did you deal with everything in preparing to study abroad?

Huaman: “The fear of rejection always haunted me, but my peers and teachers were very supportive. Once I moved to the Dahlonega campus, the first week of school I had a meeting with Ms. Foote. I told her that I was very interested in going to Asia, a program which fits in my plan of study, and possibly over the summer. With this Ms. Foote gave me a good list of scholarships and programs.”


Tell us about winning the Gilman Scholarship

Huaman: “I am an international affairs major with an East Asian concentration. I was always amazed by the East Asian culture and politics and wanted to learn more. I have aspirations in being a diplomat. My first choice was CIEE Japan, which I was blessed to get in. I then got to work with Dr. Lin in my scholarship papers. It was a great relief that I did the early applications, which granted me even more opportunities. Early applicants for CIEE have the opportunity for their flight to be paid.”


How have PSIA courses helped with developing writing, research, presentation, and other skills?

Human: “PSIA has really helped me “train” for these applications. While it is common not to like to present or participate in group projects, both really helped me in my application. One of the commitments you have to follow if you get the Gilman scholarship is to promote it as well. You have to promote it by making presentations and/or attending scholarship camp. You have to be in some ways a leader. Last semester in my International Organization class, we had to make a professional resume. I always thought I knew how a resume looked like, but this class really changed and corrected my perspective. With East Asia being fairly new to campus I have been very lucky to have Dr. Wei as my mentor. She has really been helpful in my research (I will be presenting it on the next UNG conference) and participate in events.”


What advice would you give current political science majors?

Huaman: “Be involved and do not be afraid of rejection. I was always afraid of being rejected and it kept me from applying. I learned that it is ok if I do not get it the first time, there are other opportunities too”.

Check out this UNG news article featuring Naomy:


Huaman is a senior IA (Asia) major.  She plans to graduate in 2020.


Photo by Noamy via UNG study abroad