The Joel D. and Sandra Barkan Scholarship will provide competitive, merit-based scholarships for students who study abroad in various non-Western European geographical areas (also excluding Australia and New Zealand). Eligible undergraduate, full-time, degree-seeking students may be pursuing study abroad in countries including sub-Saharan Africa, Asia (including Central Asia), Latin America, and the Middle East (including North Africa). Scholarship recipients should plan to study for, at least, one semester of an academic year.

One (1) scholarship of $1,000 will be awarded for a semester-length or academic year program. This award is not renewable. 

Eligibility Requirements

Applicant must:

  • be an undergraduate, full-time, degree-seeking UI student in good academic standing
  • have a minimum 3.33 UI cumulative GPA as reported on your unofficial UI grade report
  • have completed at least 12 semester hours by the application deadline
  • plan to study in one of the countries identified above (sub-Saharan Africa, Asia-including Central Asia, Latin America, Middle East, including North Africa) for at least one semester of an academic year

About the Joel D. and Sandra Barkan Scholarship

Joel and Sandra Barkan
Sandra and Joel Barkan

The generosity of Drs. Joel and Sandra Barkan led to the creation of a scholarship for undergraduate students to study abroad in non-Western countries. Both Sandra (PhD comparative literature ’84), formerly comparative literature professor and associate dean of the Graduate College, and her late husband, Joel, political science professor, had distinguished careers at Iowa and helped to infuse international education on campus. Joel was the founding director of the Center for International and Comparative Studies (CICS), which he formed with his colleagues Michael McNulty and Paul Greenough. CICS was the predecessor to UI International Programs. Joel also served as chair of the African Studies Program and the Global Studies Program, and was the founder of the Iowa City Foreign Relations Council. Sandra, who primarily taught courses in African literatures, led the International Writing Program (IWP) through a challenging period and helped save it from closure. In 1992 and 1993 Joel served as U.S. democracy and governance advisor for East and Southern Africa. He continued to straddle the world of social science research and academe, and the world of public policy and government, moving to Washington, D.C., upon his retirement from the University of Iowa in 2005. In Washington he was senior consultant on governance for the World Bank, and senior associate at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. He also held several other consulting and research positions. Sandra joined Joel in Washington in 2008 and worked for the Department of State’s cultural diplomacy program, the International Visitor Leadership Program. The Barkans’ international interests derived largely from their undergraduate experiences in Kenya and France. In donating funds for the study abroad scholarship, they hoped to help provide similar opportunities for UI students today.

“Study abroad is vital for students to understand an increasingly globalized world."  Joel D. and Sandra Barkan 

Selection Procedure and Criteria

  • academic and personal objectives which are clearly defined and realistic
  • academic achievement and preparation
  • quality and completeness of the essay submissions
  • factors leading you to select the country for study
  • contribution of the study abroad experience to the student's overall academic program
  • evidence of maturity, motivation, and adaptability to a different cultural environment

Application Procedure

Students may enroll in a formal academic study abroad program sponsored by the University of Iowa or another accredited U.S. university or exchange organization or may enroll directly in a foreign university. All eligible enrollments must be approved and facilitated by UI Study Abroad. Some locations may not be approved for study when there are elevated health or safety risks.

Students who meet the requirements listed above are encouraged to apply for this scholarship. The application packet includes the application form, two essays (Statement of Proposed Study and Personal Statement (each 750 words or less), UI Award Letter, and an unofficial grade report (both available from MyUI), and two letters of reference (UI faculty/Teaching Assistants).

To apply for this merit scholarship, complete ONE Semester Merit Scholarship Cover Sheet and ONE Semester Merit Scholarship Application, marking the scholarship along with any other requirement(s) listed specific to the scholarship. This process will result in the submission of ONE application, required essays, required reference letters, and grade report. Incomplete application packets will NOT be accepted.

Cover Sheet and Application

Submission Deadline

Spring 2024 - Thursday, October 12, 2023

Fall 2024 - TBA

The final deadline listed for the corresponding application submission is the date listed above. No applications will be accepted after this deadline!