Mateusz Czarnocki, a second-year Computer Information Systems major, received $5,000 from the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship program to study abroad in Poland this spring. This will be combined with two additional scholarships awarded to Matt, including the USC Knight Scholarship. With the help of financial aid, Matt, who was born in Warsaw, Poland, will be able to live and study in his home country. “I have been waiting for any opportunity to return to my homeland and see what it is like to study as a regular student in Poland, spend time with my family, learn more about my home culture and experience daily life in Poland,” wrote Matt in his scholarship application. Matt’s desire to reconnect with his roots first surfaced with the passing of his father in 2004. Unable to be with the majority of his family through this difficult time, Matt yearned to strengthen these family ties and explore his heritage and that of his father. He describes how his father is the inspiration for many decisions in his life, including his interest in computers. While abroad, Matt will study marketing, computer networks, management and banking at the Warsaw School of Economics (WSE). The skills he gains abroad will support his plans to eventually move back to Poland and work in a computer networking-related career. The program is coordinated through the Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE), which offers the largest selection of computer and business courses recognized and accepted at USC toward Matt’s CIS major. Matt is also the recipient of CIEE’s new LIFT Scholarship. The Language Intensive Focus Track award program helps fund the extended study of a single language by top university students. According to his adviser at CIEE, Matt is not only the first CIS major from USC to participate in the program in Poland, but he is also the first CIS major from the southeast. He plans to use that to his advantage. “When I come back from Poland, I will have something to say that no one else has said before,” wrote Matt. When he returns to USC, Matt will organize photographic documentation of his time abroad to develop a presentation for the members of USC’s Opportunity Scholars Program (OSP). The program helps first-generation students from low-income families through their transition into college life. Matt hopes to reach out to this population and inform them of the available opportunities so they may have their own experiences abroad. “For first-generation freshmen, like I was, who start their college career knowing that sometime in the future they would like to study somewhere other than the states, an informative session like this would be a great first step,” wrote Matt. He continues, “I could show people what they must get ready to fulfill their dreams of studying somewhere beyond the states.” Each year, the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program offers grants of up to $5,000 per semester for U.S. citizen undergraduate students of limited financial means to pursue academic studies abroad. For information on the Gilman program and how to apply, visit the website at For information on other scholarship and education abroad opportunities, visit the USC Study Abroad Office’s website at