St. Olaf student studies in Japan with support of Mondale Scholarship
St. Olaf College student Sarah Thao ’24 has been awarded the Mondale Scholarship for the fall of 2022.
The Mondale Scholarship is sponsored by the Japan America Society of Minnesota (JASM), which awards $2,000 scholarships to undergraduate students interested in expanding their knowledge of the Japanese language and culture through studying abroad. The award is named in honor of former U.S. Vice President Walter Mondale, who also served as the ambassador to Japan.
Scholarship recipients write a short essay about their experience in Japan that is then published in the JASM newsletter, Tsushin. Thao, along with the other four recipients of the award, will also speak at the annual Mondale Gala upon returning to the United States.
Thao, who is majoring in Japanese and psychology at St. Olaf, was initially introduced to the scholarship by Associate Professor of Asian Studies Joanne Quimby. Thao says that connections with staff in the Smith Center for Global Engagement at St. Olaf were immensely helpful both in preparing to apply for the Mondale Scholarship and to go abroad.
She is spending the fall semester studying at Waseda University in Tokyo, where she is eager to continue to delve into the culture and language of Japan.
“I want to learn to speak Japanese more fluently and confidently and try to just get out of my comfort zone in my time here, which so far has been looking good,” says Thao.
Thao hopes to continue her education in Japan after graduating from St. Olaf. She is currently planning to either pursue her master’s degree in psychology at a Japanese university or apply to one of the teaching programs in Japan.
Before Thao, the most recent St. Olaf student to win the Mondale scholarship was Robert Hanson ’18.