David Wentzel Wins Scholarship to Study Abroad

By Leah Miller, Reporter

Sophomore David Wentzel plans to study abroad in France during the 2018-2019 school year.

AFS Intercultural Programs has awarded him the Speedwell Scholarship, a full merit based scholarship to study abroad for a year in a non-English speaking country.

AFS is an international youth exchange program that sends high school students to non-English speaking countries in order to provide international and intercultural learning experiences.

The process to apply for the Speedwell Scholarship is extensive, and in order to receive the scholarship, the applicant must show an exceptional ability and dedication to learning languages.

For Wentzel, studying abroad has always been an option since both his parents have studied abroad.

Wentzel lived in England for many years before he came to Susquehannock in his freshman year.

“I have a strong interest in language,” said Wentzel. “And because I lived in England, I love learning about other cultures.”

Senior Hunter Davis participated in an AFS exchange during his junior year and helped Wentzel through the application process.

Davis describes his experience as fundamentally life changing.

“[It was] one of the biggest investments I ever made in myself as a person, and one of the largest growth spurts I’ve ever had,” said Davis.

Being in a non-English speaking country factored into Davis’s growth as person.

“[I spent time] getting to know myself more, which is something that people in our day in age don’t usually do.” said Davis. “[I spent time] thinking about what makes me happy and who am I as a person and so those big questions are things that I had to tackle because I was stuck for 7 months not able to speak.”

Davis thought it was a magical experience, but it was more difficult than he expected.

“I did not expect it to be so difficult,” said Davis. “[It was] one of the most intense mental challenges that I’ve ever experienced.”

Language was one of the biggest changes for Davis and what Wentzel is most nervous about.

“I thought I spoke French fluently but then I showed up in France and not even a little bit.” said Davis. “So really a bit humbling because I couldn’t really speak for three months”

Although it was both magical and difficult, Davis told Wentzel to say yes to everything and to enjoy the experience.  

As Wentzel prepares for his study abroad experience, he is excited to be back in Europe.

“I am most looking forward to being able to travel around Europe again, and being able to see old friends,” said Wentzel.