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A Chance to See the World

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By Grace White

I remember exploring so many different campuses my senior year of high school, looking for one that fit what I was looking for and wanted to accomplish during my undergraduate career. While there were many things that drew me to SNC, one of the most notable was the strong study abroad program. I knew I had to study abroad because I wanted to see the world and wanted the chance to immerse myself into another culture. Dreaming is always exciting, but the dreaming became a bit more daunting when a certain part of reality snuck back onto the scene: finances. 

I won’t pretend that my story is a unique one. Like many students, I have to carefully budget, work extensive hours over breaks- often at manual labor jobs- and take out loans in order to be able to go to school here, as I am paying for my schooling out of my own pocket. And while SNC has an amazing tuition match system when it comes to studying abroad, the extra expenses that come with going abroad, like plane tickets, accommodations, passports, and more, were a bit overwhelming. Luckily, there are programs in place for students both like me and with completely different experiences than mine that help get us abroad!

I was introduced to the Gilman Scholarship my freshman year when the study abroad office connected with the financial aid office in order to find out who in the student population might be eligible for such a scholarship. I was invited to a meeting, and I suddenly realized that studying abroad might be a bit more accessible than I had once thought! The Gilman Scholarship is a federally funded scholarship that aims to help students that are underrepresented in study abroad programs abroad. This includes, but is far from limited to, students in STEM, minority students, students with disabilities, first generation college students, and students with great financial need. With scholarships that can be used on any travel expenses ranging up to $5,000, the Gilman scholarship has the ability to open otherwise locked doors.

In order to apply, students must do things like write an essay on how they will be a global citizen and properly represent the United States while abroad, explain why they want to go abroad, and come up with a project to be completed upon returning to the States that helps bring awareness to study abroad opportunities. I filled out my application last year, and while it was a bit nerve-wracking, thanks to my personal perfectionism, the application process was easy enough (and is definitely worth your time)! When I received my Gilman Scholarship this summer, it was a game changer, and it continues to be one. I am still overwhelmed by the opportunity that has been given to me, and you could be, too! To learn more about the scholarship, you can reach out to the Study Abroad office where Alli Reed, a past Gilman Scholarship essay reader, works and can help you. You could also visit  gilmanscholarship.org. And, if you are working on that essay, feel free to visit me in the Writing Center here on campus! Study abroad should be for everyone, and there are programs out there to help make it attainable. So, reach out for them. Take advantage of what is within your grasp!

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