University of Portland student David Vargas Puga ’21 recently became one of only 22 students nationwide to receive a scholarship from (FEA), a program which focuses on making study abroad opportunities accessible to all students. Vargas Puga, a Spanish and computer science double major, is the first student from UP to receive the award since the program was created in 2010. All 22 students who received the award for spring 2019 are first generation college students, and many come from minority backgrounds.
Vargas Puga, who will use his scholarship for a semester abroad in Spain, is a first generation college student from Hillsboro, Oregon with Mexican-American heritage. He speaks Spanish as his first language and decided to major in it because he believes there is always room for improvement and wants to learn how to speak the language more formally. Vargas Puga leaves for Spain in January and will stay in the country until May. He was encouraged to apply to FEA by Eduardo Contreras, assistant provost for international education, who works closely with the University of Portland study abroad programs.
In addition to the Fund for Education Abroad scholarship, Vargas Puga also received the prestigious Benjamin A. Gilman scholarship for U.S. undergraduate students who are receiving Federal Pell Grant funding at a two-year or four-year college or university to participate in study and intern abroad programs worldwide.