Fairfield student picks up scholarship, moves to Europe

Jonathan Savidant wants to challenge himself and what better way than to pick up his family and move around the world to do it.

Jonathan Savidant wants to challenge himself and what better way than to pick up his family and move around the world to do it.

A few weeks ago, Savidant, a Fairfield resident and University of Victoria student, his wife and one-year-old son moved for a semester-long program to study business in Germany.

“I don’t know if I could recommend anybody try and do a four-month exchange with a one-year-old,” he laughed. “It’s challenging. It’s totally different. But it’s cool at the same time.”

Savidant was the recipient of the Premier’s International Scholarships, awarded by the Irving K. Barber British Columbia Scholarship Society for study abroad programs.

As part of his $6,000-scholarship, he travelled to Leipzig, in Saxony, Germany to study business. He first heard about the scholarship from a previous recipient and friend.

“Germany has always interested me. From a business standpoint, they have a similar enough structure to Canada but also very different,” said Savidant, who is currently completing his masters of business administration.

“I wanted to see another perspective on engaging your workforce and engaging with different stakeholders.”

Though this is Savidant’s first experience studying abroad, the family is settling in well.

“I wanted confidence in navigating unfamiliar cultures and situations. I was hoping to challenge myself and get out of my comfort zone. Also just learn a different way to do business,” he said.

Fifteen other B.C. students were awarded scholarships between $6,000 and $10,000 as part of the program.

Sasha Gronsdahl, program administrator for the scholarship society, said it’s a competitive process with an emphasis on community involvement, extra curricular activities and keeping a B-plus average in school.

“Jonathan met both of those criteria,” she said, adding they had roughly 140 applications this year.

Savidant and his family will be in Germany until the end of the year.

“It’s been great, it’s been more than I bargained for,” he said.

The Premier’s Scholarships are funded from the returns on a $17-million endowment fund established by the province for international education and are awarded to 16 students annually.