If you've been following my blog for sometime, you may know I went on a study abroad trip this past summer to Brazil. What you may not know is, I received the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship to help finance my trip. I would not have gone on the trip without it. What is this scholarship? Well, straight from the Gilman scholarship website it says, "The U.S. Department of State’s Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship is a grant program that enables students of limited financial means to study or intern abroad, thereby gaining skills critical to our national security and economic competitiveness." I am grateful for this scholarship that allowed me to expand my horizons and learn about another culture while living and studying there.
As a recipient of the scholarship, I had to create a Follow-up Service Project that promoted and informed others about the scholarship opportunity. I want students to be encouraged to study abroad. My project was to interview students and create a blog post about their experience. Today, you will read about Nick's experience with the Gilman Scholarship and his trip to England.
Where and what did you study?
I went abroad summer of 2018 to study math in England.
How did the ability to receive the Gilman Scholarship impact you?
I was relieved to have received the Gilman Scholarship, covering more than half of the trip, because I knew I could afford the rest out of pocket. Even if I had not received the scholarship, I had already made up my mind to go abroad, even if it meant I would have taken out loans to finance the trip. Nothing would have prevented me from studying abroad. This scholarship made me comfortable to experience a different culture without so many financial limitations.
Would you have been able to finance the study abroad trip without the scholarship?
There are many cost that I didn’t think of as I went abroad, the groceries and transportation, but I still wanted to experience all the fun. I visited different cities and attractions, London Eye, Big Ben, the London Tower, and so much more. The scholarship made the whole trip even better than it would have been without it, I was humbled to completely open my mind to a whole new world.
What is something you know now, that you wish you knew before the trip?
The only thing I would change about my trip is how prepared I was to travel to England. I had briefly looked online for some fun attractions, but there is so much to England I didn’t know about. I wish I knew about the little holes in the wall and some of the less known, more local, places to visit.
Why is the opportunity to study abroad important to you as an individual and to students in general?
To fully enjoy a new culture, it is important to know what locals’ lives are like, the stores they visit, the restaurants they eat at, and their daily routines. I truly believe everyone should experience a different culture to expand their world knowledge. Its humbling experiencing life in a world you’re unfamiliar with. In the society we live in today its necessary for all students to experience this. We must become a global citizen to grow our understanding of the situations we are in today and to improve the conditions of our life. There is a history to all knowledge and we should expand what we know wherever that history may be.
*Photo by Amy Humphries
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