The Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship was recently awarded to 14 Temple students, giving them the opportunity to study throughout the world.
Eight recipients will be studying away this fall in Rome, Japan, the United Kingdom, Egypt, Denmark and France, according to the Office of Education Abroad and Overseas Campuses. The remaining students received scholarships for summer programs in India, Brazil, Jamaica and China.
Students who received the award talked about being overwhelmed when they found out that they had been selected for the scholarship.
“Winning the scholarship was a bit unexpected,” senior sociology major Candace Copio said. “I was confident in my application and I put a lot of effort to make my essay stand out. However, I was made aware that the Gilman is a very prestigious scholarship. I researched the list of students who had received the awards the previous summer of 2011 — many came from Ivy League and other well-respected universities across the nation. I am grateful to be recognized and rewarded for my work.”
“There was a relief that washed over me when I found out I won the scholarship. It was a great feeling to know that all that hard work I had put into it was worth it and now I could afford the trip to India,” senior biological anthropology major Rica Perez said.
According to the scholarship’s website, it is awarded mainly to students who are not typically represented in study abroad programs, including students with financial need, students with disabilities, those pursuing careers in science and engineering and students with diverse ethnic backgrounds.
The average scholarship awarded is approximately $4,000 and is given to more than 2,300 students across the country.
Students must meet a certain criteria to be considered for the scholarship. Students must receive a Federal Pell Grant, already be accepted into a study abroad program and plan to study for at least four weeks in one country — not including Cuba or any country on the Department of State’s Travel Warning list.
For recipients like Dominique Moore who studied in Brazil, the scholarship allowed an opportunity to do something that didn’t seem possible.
“It felt as if it were the key that opened the door to limitless possibilities,” Moore, an English alumna, said. “Prior to getting accepted into the program and awarded the scholarship, I have never fathomed having the opportunity to study abroad. Thus, this enabled me to create a dream and then actually see it to fruition.”
Moore also described her time abroad, visiting Brazil’s rich culture, thanks in part to the Gilman Scholarship.
“I learned a lot about myself and most importantly the world that I live in. While there, I learned Portuguese and studied Afro-Brazilian culture and pop music,” Moore said.
Others talked about their time away and the experience they took from studying abroad.
“I ended up in Dhrangadhra, India, and it was an amazing experience,” Perez said. “It was like no place I had ever been and the life was much simpler and slower, being that it was a small town and the people were helpful and sweet.”
Petra Brayo, a senior neuorscience major, added that being abroad in Denmark was a learning experience in how other cultures act.
“I am now in Copenhagen, Denmark, and it is interesting,” Brayo said. “There are similarities to back home, but the Danish culture is really different. It all comes down to the Danish notions of a welfare nation-state. There this sense that every piece of the land belongs to everyone, so you have the duty to keep it clean and safe.”
While most students emphasized the experience they got out of studying abroad, Moore said that there should be no excuse for not getting out and trying to study abroad.
“Most importantly, if you want to study abroad, the best way to do it is to just do it,” Moore said. “Don’t allow obstacles to be factors as to why you don’t do it.”
Matthew Hulmes can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.