The thought of studying abroad is exciting for almost everyone! Honestly, traveling and going to school at the same time is an unforgettable experience that so many students dream of but don’t really get to experience due to financial hardship.
I was one of those students. Coming from a large family, I knew my family wouldn’t be able to support me financially when it came to the expenses. I also didn’t want to take out a large loan Believe me, studying abroad is not cheap. The total costs include: tuition, program fees, airfare, and sometimes housing. And then of course you’re going to need a few hundred dollars for spending. In total, you’re looking at a good $3,000 to $4,000 going towards studying abroad. I know, I know. That is a lot of money and the numbers may even sound discouraging. You think about how much and how long it will take for you to save up all of that money. Or dread the idea of just settling and taking out thousands of dollars in loans.
This is literally where my mind went to when I thought about studying abroad. After much thought, discussion, and research I discovered the Benjamin Gilman Scholarship. The Benjamin Gilman International Scholarship is a grant program that awards students who display financial needs money to study or intern abroad.
On April 20th 2017, I received an email from this program informing me that I had been awarded a scholarship to study abroad. All my financial worries were gone. Honestly, if I hadn’t received this scholarship I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to study abroad in London this past summer and I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to travel to other countries while on my abroad program. I had attended a 6 week summer program at Roehampton University in London. During my weekends I traveled to Barcelona, Milan, and Amsterdam. It was literally an experience of a lifetime that I will never forget.
As I sit and think about the amount of times I considered not applying for this scholarship out of fear of not getting the award, I’m so glad I did. While they do receive many applicants for the Benjamin Gilman Scholarship, your chance of being awarded a scholarship is just as good as any other student applying.
The application is not difficult at all. The application process takes place online, where you will complete a few questions and submit information about yourself. You will then need to upload your transcript(s) and have your study abroad and financial aid advisor certify your applications. In addition to that, you will need to submit two essays.
The first essay is a statement of purpose essay, this is where you will discuss your study abroad program of choice and why you want to do that program. In addition to that, you are asked to explain what challenges you have faced in your decision to study abroad. For the statement of purpose essay I’d highly suggest you are 100% raw and honest. Don’t be ashamed to really express the challenges you have faced or are even currently facing. Don’t hold back on what your goals are or on why you really want to attend the program.
The second essay is a follow-on service project proposal. In this essay, you will explain how you plan on giving back by inspiring others to study abroad and apply for the Gilman Scholarship. For example, me I chose to write this article, create brochures, and create a project board for my school study abroad fair. However, there are several things you can choose as your project.
You can head over to https://www.gilmanscholarship.org/ if you’re interested in learning more about the Benjamin Gilman Scholarship. Applications for are accepted on a rolling basis. So if you’re interested in studying abroad and considering applying, consider this your invitation to a head start!