A Few Reasons Why You Should Apply for the Gilman 🤔



Before reading this post make sure that you meet all the requirements on this checklist. If not, you may not be eligible to apply for the Gilman Scholarship, but there are most definitely other options, grants, and scholarships out there.  Do not give up on studying abroad because of financial concerns. Trust me, I didn’t have a dime to spend, and my entire trip was paid for. It was the best thing that ever happened to me and it could very much be you.

  • Are you a U.S citizen?
  • Do you receive the Pell Grant through Federal financial aid?
  • Are you attending a two or four-year university?
  • Have you been accepted into a study abroad program or internship eligible for credit by the student’s accredited institution?
  • Are you studying or interning abroad for at least 21 days in one country?
  • Are studying or interning abroad in any country except Cuba or a country on the US Department of State’s current Travel Warning list?  
  • Are you ready to embark on one of the most eye-opening experiences of your life?

If you answered yes to all of the above, buckle up and let’s dive into why you should apply for the Gilman Scholarship.

What is the Benjamin A Gilman International Scholarship?

The Benjamin A Gilman International Scholarship is a grant program that enables students of limited financial means to study or intern abroad, thereby gaining skills critical to our national security and economic competitiveness. It is open to college students that are U.S citizens, attend a two or four-year university that receives the Federal Pell Grant. The Gilman scholarship is competitive, so you will have to put in effort and time, but it is very much worth it. The Pell grant and to be in the running to receive the scholarship, you must craft an essay. You will also be required to propose a follow-on service project or a way to help others become aware of the scholarship so that it can benefit other people in the way it’s helped you, giving back to those who helped you get to the place you are today.

Why I applied

Although my study abroad program allowed me to use loans from financial aid, I was not looking to take out any more loans. Loans equal money I’ll have to pay back later. Gilman equals money I will pay back in serving my community. Let’s be real, paying for college is daunting. Studying abroad may appear to be out of the question, but fret not, there are ways to get around financial restrictions. Studying abroad offers experiences that cannot be captured on a college campus sitting in a classroom. Through studying abroad, you will learn perspective, life skills and grow as an individual. This can all be realized by applying for the Benjamin A. Gilman International scholarship. It’ll just a take a little hard work and dedication. Honestly, coming from a single parent household with four other siblings, our financial situation was, to say the least, rough. I didn’t think I’d be able to go to college, let alone touch down in France, Spain, Ireland and The Netherlands. But the Gilman Scholarship made this possible and I am ever so grateful.

Okay, I know you’re probably like, “Okay girl, we get it. Get to the point! Enough with the cheesy words to motivate me to study abroad. I’m in.” Okay, well then, let’s really talk. I’m going to give you the tea and nothing but the tea on why you should apply for the Gilman Scholarship.  Three, two, one, let’s go!

Why should you apply for the Gilman?

Overseas was LIT! I met people and had experiences I could not have had in the United States. If you have an opportunity to make this possible for yourself, why not use all the resources available to you. Gilman is a GREAT resource considering that recipients receive between 3,000 and 5,000 dollars. BUT WAIT THERE’S MORE! Gilman Scholars join a network of people from different walks of life that could help in your professional development. I’m not finished yet, Gilman gives you career opportunities as well! Therefore if you love traveling you can continue this lifestyle. Applying to Gilman will only help you, so what are you waiting for APPLY! YOU CAN DO IT! VOUS POUVEZ LE FAIRE!

Gabrielle Hull is a senior at the University of Missouri-Kansas City studying Sociology, Psychology and French.  Gabrielle is a Gilman Scholar who studied abroad with the UMKC French Summer Program in Lyon, France. Originally from St. Louis, Missouri, Gabrielle is active on campus, participating in the multi-cultural sorority Sigma Lambda Gamma National Sorority, Inc. Gabrielle hopes to use her French language ability to advocate for those who can’t speak for themselves after graduation.

Student blog entries posted to the Roos Abroad Blog may not reflect the opinions and recommendations of UMKC Study Abroad and International Academic Programs. The blog is intended to give students a forum for free expression of thoughts and experiences abroad in a respectful space.

Taking Risks

Someone once told me, “the moment you learn to accept yourself for all that you are, is the moment you truly start living.”

I recently decided to give couchsurfing a try. For those of you who don’t know what couchsurfing is, it is a website that connects you with other travelers. You can use the website for various different things, such as finding language exchanges, meeting people from other countries, or simply chatting online. The main use, however, is to find free accommodation while traveling. You find someone in the city that you are going to that is willing to “host” you in their house. That usually means you will stay on their couch, though some people have extra rooms to share. The idea isn’t that you just get free accommodation, but that you will meet new people. Often times these people will show you around and give you tips on the city. It is a great thing to do, especially if you are traveling alone and don’t know what to do.

Anyhow, I decided to try couchsurfing while I was in Amsterdam. I had already booked a hostel, because I was a little hesitant on doing couchsurfing, but I ended up canceling my hostel to stay on someones couch.

I ended up staying with a guy from India. He had actually just moved to Amsterdam a few months prior, but he already had hosted several people.

The second day that I stayed with him, he told me that he had to work, and that I couldn’t stay at his place alone. He didn’t allow couchsurfers to stay there when he wasn’t there, which I totally understand. However, he did offer to let me come to work with him. Because I didn’t have anything planned, I went with him.

I ended up finding out that his work was hosting a cancer awareness event. They were basically raising money for an organization that makes wigs for children. Similar to what you may know as Locks of Love. However, unlike Locks of Love, this organization doesn’t charge for their wigs, and they do not sell their wigs to the patients. They are given to them nearly free of charge. Where as, Locks of Love has been known to charge lots of money for the donated hair. (I urge you to do your own research on the company ).

Anyhow, during this event, they were looking for people to donate their hair. The people would get their haircut but professional hair stylists for free, and in return, they would donate their hair. After watching a lot of people donate their hair, I realized how afraid I was of cutting my own. Like many girls, I am attached to my hair, and I would feel a loss of something if I cut it off. But then it dawned on me that these wigs are going to people who don’t have the choice to keep their hair. People, in particular, children who are afraid of having short/no hair.

The thing is, however, hair is only important, because society tells us it is. Society tells men that instead of accepting that they are going bald, because it is a part of life, they need to avoid it at all costs. Men will keep their hair until it is hanging on a thread (look at Trump). They will spend thousands of dollars on products that claim to re-grow their hair or on hairplugs. Instead of accepting that they are going bald, because in this society it is seen as such a horrible thing. When in reality, your hair is just hair. Attachment to hair is even stronger among women. Society has created this idea that without your hair you aren’t woman enough. You constantly hear things like “men like woman with long hair” or “you would look like a lesbian with short hair”. First off, who cares what anyone else likes, and second that is a complete stereotype.

The point is, I realized I felt that way. I realized that I was so attached to my hair that I was afraid of losing it. I didn’t like that about myself, and I wanted to be able to accept myself with or without long hair. So I agreed to donate my hair.

They stylist, at the time, didn’t tell me what he was going to do. He just asked me my limits. I told him my only limit is that ‘he makes me look good.’

Here are the results:

Before photo


After my pony tail was cut (14inches)


shaved one side


Final Results <3

In the end, regardless of whether or not people prefer my long or my short hair, I have realized it doesn’t matter. I am still me either way, and I am just as beautiful as before.

Someone once told me, “the moment you learn to accept yourself for all that you are, is the moment you truly start living.”

I am ready to start living. 


Student blog entries posted to the Roos Abroad Blog may not reflect the opinions and recommendations of UMKC International Academic Programs.  The blog is intended to give students a forum for free expression of thoughts and experiences abroad in a respectful space.