Can't put a price on a once-in-a-lifetime experience
Since my freshman year I knew I wanted to study abroad and as each subsequent semester passed, I offered up justifications like “I don’t have the time,” or “I don’t want to get behind on credits,” and most often “I just can’t afford it,” as reasons I did not go.
Anyone who has considered studying abroad knows these are all understandable and valid reservations.
For many, studying abroad would not be easy and would require a lot of personal sacrifice to make possible. I had to make many sacrifices in order to afford to study abroad, but it is possible if you want to do it bad enough. And if you look hard enough, there is a lot of help out there for those who need it.
Thankfully I received a tremendous amount of support from the anthropology department. When Faith Warner (associate professor of anthropology) learned of my study abroad ambition she quickly mentioned the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship.
Like many other students, and quite possibly yourself, I never heard of this scholarship. After a brief session with Google, I thought “what do I have to lose” and decided to apply.
My study abroad advisor (Warner) helped immensely to turn a seemingly daunting process into one that was streamline and painless. In under a week, she and I had dotted all the I’s and crossed at the T’s that were necessary and my application was sent for review.
Within two months I received a letter from the Gilman Scholarship Program.
As I opened the correspondence, I was very aware of the consequences of that letter because I would have not been able to study abroad without some form of financial support. The first word I noticed was “Congratulations” and following that, I was the shock by the realization that more than half of my study abroad program would be covered due the generosity of the Benjamin A. Gilman Program.
For anyone who is planning on studying abroad, don’t hesitate to apply for the Benjamin A. Gilman Scholarship (or any others). At first glance their application process seems overwhelming but, it will all fall into place.
In addition to the Benjamin A. Gilman scholarship, I earned the Jim Pomphret Study Abroad Scholarship. I would like to thank Department Chair Conrad Quintyn (professor of anthropology) and the entire anthropology department (especially Mrs. Janet Locke for putting up with all of my emails!) for this award. Because of this I will be able to travel both to and from San Jose, Costa Rica at no cost of my own.
If I could offer only one piece of advice to any students who would like to study abroad it would be:
"Go for it, don’t focus on the reasons you can’t go focus on the reasons you should go."