by Sarah Aldrich, ’18 (Spanish Education; Jordan Min.)
For anyone with a desire to travel abroad, here is a great way to get started!
For many students, studying abroad is a dream not easily realized. Through a Gilman International Scholarship, 19,000 undergraduate students have traveled to over 140 different countries from more than 1,100 United States institutions. Awards are given both for study abroad and internship programs. Elizabeth Lohrenz, a Gilman Alumni Ambassador from the Kearney International Center on campus, spoke to students about this study abroad award and the importance of travelling outside of the United States.
Lohrenz, who spent her time as an undergraduate at Minnesota State University, Mankato, talked about her personal experience studying abroad through this award. She traveled to Russia with a four week program, where she studied Russian in multiple cities and helped build an exchange program between Minnesota State University, Mankato and the university she studied at in Russia. This experience led her to another opportunity abroad, when she interned in Frankfurt, Germany a year later. In her talk, she emphasized how traveling can help build connections across the world.
Students interested in the Gilman Scholarship should first consider if they are eligible. Students must be a US citizen at the time of being awarded, an undergraduate receiving a Federal Pell Grant, and be planning to take academic credits while overseas. Students who are ethnically diverse, first generation college students, attending community or minority-serving colleges, from underrepresented fields of study, or have high financial needs will be considered for the award. Before applying, however, considering where to study is very important. Underrepresented countries and regions, such as those outside of Western Europe, Australia and New Zealand are more likely to be awarded.
About one-third of applicants are rewarded scholarships up to 5,000 dollars. For students who choose to study a critical need language, scholarships reach close to 8,000 dollars. Because of the generous nature of these awards, they are very competitive. Speaking with advisors—like Elizabeth Lohrenz or Ginny Walters—is a great way to get started. For Summer and Fall 2016 travels, students should submit their applications by the first of March, 2016.
Traveling abroad while in college is an opportunity which everyone should consider, since possibilities stretch beyond just studying: there are ways to intern, student teach, research, volunteer and do field work. Going abroad provides cross cultural experiences and perspectives that staying at one university cannot provide! Doing so looks great on job applications. To find opportunities abroad and build connections around the world, visit www.studyabroadfunding.org. To hear about other scholarships and fellowships, stay connected with the Undergraduate Research and Fellowships office.