Student Spotlight: Saije Inman

Saijie Inman, a senior from Asheville, recently completed a study abroad program in New Zealand (Aotearoa). We sat down with Saije to talk about their experience overseas and the scholarships that helped them get there.

Saije had no special connection to New Zealand before this journey. They are majoring in sustainable development and minoring in recreation management, so New Zealand, with its developed outdoor industry, seemed like a good fit when one of Saije’s friends told them about it. Appalachian State’s Office of International Education and Development helped Saije find an exchange program at the Ara Institute of Canterbury and Te Pūkenga, in Christchurch (Ōtautahi).

After a challenging travel experience involving long flights and lost luggage, Saije soon found themself knee deep in sustainability and outdoor recreation classes. Their classes involved many field trips andInman New Zealand outdoor activities, including collecting mussels, carrying out species inventories in creeks, snorkeling and rock climbing. These ventures helped Saije gain a better academic understanding of sustainability and wildlife conservation while simultaneously nurturing new interests. These trips pushed the edges of Saije’s comfort zone and expanded it. For instance, Saije went to kayak rolling classes so that they would be better prepared for an upcoming whitewater kayaking excursion.

Living in a different country also proved transformative. For example, Saije greatly enjoyed living in an environment in which they could bike everywhere they needed to go. Since returning to Appalachian, they’ve increased the amount of biking they do. Saije now feels more confident and independent thanks to their time living in New Zealand. One other takeaway was coming to appreciate many different sources of learning: from within, from others, and from the relationships between people.

Saije’s study abroad experience was made more financially viable through the assistance of a few different scholarships. They received the Mary Jo Sharpe Scholarship for Global Experiences and the Woodso

n-Horine Global Engagement Scholarship through Appalachian State. They also received a Gilman Scholarship. This scholarship is awarded to undergraduates with a demonstrated financial need and who wish to study abroad. As Saije applied for the Gilman Scholarship, they consulted with Johnna Reisner DeSantis at Appalachian State’s office of Nationally Competitive Scholarships. Johnna gave advice about what the Gilman application looks for, helped Saije navigate the website and proofread their application. Saije also made several appointments with the University Writing Center for extra help with the essays, which was indispensable.

Inman Skydiving

When we asked Saije what advice they would give undergraduates considering study abroad, several things came to their mind. They recommend taking time to carefully consider which location and program would be the best fit for each student’s major and situation. Starting to think about studying abroad early in one’s undergraduate career can open more opportunities, as students can have time to carefully write scholarship essays and can be more confident that the academic credits earned abroad will count for something beyond elective hours. Most importantly, Saije recommends that everyone who is able should study abroad. “It gives you an important kind of growth that you can’t get in the place you grew up.”


Students interested in studying abroad can make an appointment with the Office of International Education and Development throughtheir website or go to their walk-in advising hours on Wednesday 2-4pm.

Students can learn more about the Gilman Scholarship here and the Freeman-ASIA scholarship here. Those ready to start applying can make an appointment with App State’s office of Nationally Competitive Scholarships here.


About Nationally Competitive Scholarships

Nationally Competitive Scholarships (NCS) works with the Appalachian community to recruit and support students for nationally competitive scholarships and fellowships, including those that support research, teaching and critical language learning. This is achieved with outreach, mentorship and advising throughout the entire application and selection process. NCS is committed to helping undergraduate and graduate students find ways to connect their Appalachian education to their future endeavors through scholarship opportunities. Learn more at

Compiled and Written by James Holden
January 22 , 2023
Boone, N.C.

Inman Kayaking
Published: Feb 5, 2024 10:12am