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Crafting Your Gilman Essay

Crafting a Competitive Gilman Essay: Tips

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Okay, so, I see that you have decided to apply for Gilman! GREAT! Let’s get started on crafting an essay that will give you a better chance of winning a scholarship to study abroad. As a Gilman recipient I remember being stressed! I had other assignments to do, exams etc you name it, and to make matters worse, my classes clashed with the work shops provided by the Study Abroad Office.  So, I thought all hope was lost. I didn’t have anyone to help truly guide me in this part of applying. So, here are a few tips to help if you run into the same circumstances I faced!

Step One: Don’t fall into pessimistic thinking! Speak it into existence! Claim it and it will be yours.

If you cant attend the workshops which I highly recommend, pull up good ol Dr. Google and begin searchin’ and readin’. There are SO MANY resources available online to help you craft a competitive essay. Even the Gilman website gives tips. Youtube is also a great place to go if you do not have time to read through various articles explaining how to write this essay. I will post a link for the example essay I used to craft my essay.

        https://scholarshipsojourn.wordpress.com/2013/09/05/sample-gilman-essay-3-england/

Step 2: Set aside enough time so that you can REVISE, REVISE and REVISE some more.

This is really something that can’t be written in one night! I would advise to not revise so much that your personal voice is gone and it sounds like a robot wrote your essay. It is okay to use “I” unlike in the academic writing we are used to. Make sure that there aren’t any grammatical errors or if you choose to provide intimate details about your life don’t cut it short, DETAIL IS GOOD. Use all of the characters and words they give you! They want to know who you are and why they should give you money. TAKE THIS VERY SERIOUSLY! Here are a few tips I would give you when it comes to the actual content.

  • Be yourself and I mean really yourself, The people reviewing your essay will read a thousand other ones, STAND OUT  
  • Tell them how studying abroad will help you life/career  goals and or your community 
  • STRESS the need for financial assistance, everyone applying receives a Pell Grant, so they know money is the issue
  • DETAIL, the paper is the only representation they have of you, this is a time when you can tell your whole life story and someone will actually want to hear it 
  • Get Personal
  • Let them know why you choose a specific study abroad program
  • Make your opening sentence intriguing and your opening paragraph concise like a thesis statement.
  • Give a timeline! It’s okay to talk about past experiences, but make sure you make them relevant to you present and future.
  • Talk about the city you will be in

Step 3:  Email me and I’ll give you feedback [gabbiehull@gmail.com]       

If you ever get stuck, as a Gilman recipient/Alumni and a UMKC graduate, I am here to help anyone who wants to study abroad. It was one of the best experiences of my life and if I can help someone get abroad it would be my honor.


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.

A Few Reasons Why You Should Apply for the Gilman 🤔

 

**ATTENTION**

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.

How Gilman Has Changed My Life & Career Goals

Receiving the Gilman Scholarship gave me an experience I will never forget. I studied abroad in Lyon, France for six weeks. I traveled to Spain, Amsterdam, and four cities in France while in Europe. There is no doubt in my mind that if I didn’t receive the scholarship I would have stayed home and worked over the summer. My summer in France gave me more than just fun times, but insights into to my career goals. As a graduating senior, I am applying for a program by the name of TAPIF. As a freshman I came to UMKC as a French major, the French language has always been a passion of mine. After hearing some of the negative comments about job opportunities after graduating I decided to add Sociology as a backup plan. While I enjoyed sociology it just wasn’t my steak and potatoes. When I studied abroad in the summer of 2017 thanks to the Gilman I realized France felt like a home away and I knew it was exactly where I wanted to be and that I was still passionate about French. I was now sure that I wanted to use French in my career. If I had never applied to Gilman and received this scholarship, I believe I would still be confused about what I want to do in my career and worried about what other thought of my major. Receiving the Gilman helped me to not worry about what others say. If it’s meant for you it will be!

In addition to this realization,  I was offered a position with Teach for America. As a Gilman recipient, you can put this achievement on your resume and that is exactly what I did. It was fascinating that during my interview process the interviewer seemed extremely interested in learning about the Gilman. I believe that this achievement helped my resume to stand out among the crowd. On my resume, I have my sorority and the various clubs of which I am apart, but there were no questions asked about them. If I do not make it into the TAPIF program, I will have a career anyway and this is because that achievement helped me to stand out.

Being a Gilman Recipient has completely changed my goals in other ways when it comes to giving back to the community. I believe that everyone should have an experience abroad. It truly changes your perspective and outlook on life. On a personal note being a black woman, it goes unsaid but there is so much racial tension in the United States. For once while walking around in other nations, I felt as if I was American enough, not just African American. In the future, I hope to open a non-profit that helps students in low-income neighborhoods  experience studying abroad. As someone who comes from poverty I know that it is easy to feel defeated and that your situation will never get better. I know how much it changed my mindset and reality. Programs to study abroad exist at private schools or schools in high-income areas like the one I was lucky enough to be bused into and I think its time we give all students this opportunity and not just the one’s with money.

Tout les personnes méritent une chance égale


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.

The Journey Back Home

My last few days in Korea were somber, I was still having a great time with my friends but we all knew that our time together was quickly coming to an end. I began to reflect on my time studying abroad and how much of an impact that it had on my life. I did and saw some amazing things and I got to experience an international university that was both challenging and rewarding.

My last few days, I did not try to do new things to squeeze in an experience that I had yet to have. There were many things that I did not get to do while I was there and that was okay. Instead, I focused on doing the things that I was greatly going to miss; I went to my favorite cafes, hung out with my friends in our favorite bars, and ate my favorite foods. The smallest things that I did while there were the things I knew I was going to miss the most, because they had become a routine. I wasn’t going to miss going to the palaces, they were a tourist trip and I didn’t visit them every day. Instead, I was going to miss seeing the mountains when I walked to class, visiting my favorite beer and chicken place with my classmates, and going to the convenience store where I bought my cheap ramen that I had come to adore.

The idea of returning home was not easy. As I made my way onto the flight to come home I was distressed at how much I had come to love Korea. It was more than just a study abroad trip at this point; I had created a life for myself there and it was sad to let that go. No one tells you before you leave that coming back is just as hard, adjusting to life back in America is almost a reverse culture shock in itself, but it’s all part of the process and you just have to keep pushing through.


Emily Noe is a junior at the University of Missouri-Kansas City studying History. Emily is spending the semester abroad with Dongguk University in Seoul, South Korea. Emily is working towards achieving her Bachelors, Masters, and Doctorate in history.

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.

 

DMZ-Standing on the Edge of War

One of the most important things about understanding Korean culture and society is the recognition that Korea is still a divided country and is still currently in a stalemate with North Korea while participating in an armistice. This relationship between the two countries is extremely important in everyday life. While normal citizens may not think about it on a day to day basis, the existence of the problem is still very prevalent. The Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) is an infamous place to visit when going to South Korea, the DMZ is the official demarcation line that divides North and South Korea. Even though the tour to the DMZ is slightly tense and a little sad, it is one of the most fascinating and memorable experiences that I have ever encountered.

When you go on the DMZ/JSA tour the first thing that becomes obvious quickly is the absolute strict time schedule, there are a few stops on the tour including the 3rd infiltration tunnel, the Doran train station, and the Dora Observatory which only allows a very certain amount of time to look around. But the strictest of all of these is the Joint Security Area (JSA) which is the very controlled area where North and South Korean officials meet to discuss political issues. This part of the tour allows for less than 10 minutes to see the North Korean tourist center and the conference room that is officially crosses both countries. The most interesting thing about this point of the tour was the absolute quiet tension that exists in this area. There are many military officials posted and they are quite dangerous and trained to handle situations if skirmishes happen to break out.

This tour is by far the best thing that I did while I was in South Korea. Not only does it give some extensive history on the Korean War and why the country is divided, but it also informs on the current situation in Korea and some of the efforts that have been made to improve relations. The tour also has multiple stops on the agenda that better illustrate past and current situations between North and South Korea. Overall, this experience made me feel a multitude of different things including sadness for the history of both of the countries, discomfort while experiencing the actual tension of a war torn country, and excitement for seeing a piece of history that not many have had the pleasure of experiencing.


Emily Noe is a junior at the University of Missouri-Kansas City studying History. Emily is spending the semester abroad with Dongguk University in Seoul, South Korea. Emily is working towards achieving her Bachelors, Masters, and Doctorate in history.

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.

 

The Occupation that Destroyed a Nation

South Korea is a very old country. Their history goes back thousands of years and they are very proud of their heritage. Seoul, while it is a completely modern and updated city, has existed as the capital of Korea for quite a long time as it was one of the first cities to be established and many royal families lived in the area spanning hundreds of years. This allowed for the construction of many palaces and temples throughout the Seoul vicinity.

South Korean architecture is quite beautiful and unique; they generally focused on multiple open air pagodas on palace grounds as well as smaller buildings for sleeping and leisure. Most of the palaces and temples are done in the traditional Korean colors which include red, blue, green, yellow, and white. They also include imagery such as symbolic animals, moons, suns, and mountains that are intertwined within the architecture.

I visited one of the largest palaces that exists in South Korea today, Gyeongbokgung Palace is centered in the heart of Seoul, aligned with the mountain range in the background. The grounds of the palace are sprawling with a moat, throne room, sleeping quarters, temples, a library, and a massive garden that wraps around the perimeter. In the summer, there are people that wear traditional dress called Hanbok and play traditional music on South Asian instruments. What makes it better is there are signs at every building to give an explanation of when it was built and what it was used for.

But the palaces and temples (as well as most historical sites and artifacts) come with a sad history; before the Korean War and Japanese Occupation, most of the original buildings stood exactly as they had been built, when the Japanese came in to annex Korea, they destroyed everything that had to do with Korean history in the hopes that they could make the country Japanese. After the Japanese lost control of Korea, all of the buildings had to be restored, this took place mostly from the 1970s-90s, because of this, almost all of the historical sites in South Korea are reconstructed representations of what they were previously. Even reconstructed, they are important to Korean history as a whole and are worth being visited as they are extremely beautiful.


Emily Noe is a junior at the University of Missouri-Kansas City studying History. Emily is spending the semester abroad with Dongguk University in Seoul, South Korea. Emily is working towards achieving her Bachelors, Masters, and Doctorate in history.

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.

A Birds Eye View

In South Korea there is a very popular tourist attraction called N Seoul Tower, or Namsan Tower. It is at the top of Namsan Mountain and it is many things combined into one, the first being an actual tower that you can go up to the top of and see the entire layout of Seoul. The second being a major shopping/restaurant hub which includes 4 different floors of different tourist shops, restaurants, and museums, and the final being one part of an outpost of a defense wall that circles a central location in Seoul.

The historical part of Namsan Tower is quite interesting, it has 3 beacons that sit on a hill that was built centuries ago to light in case the city was being attacked. There is also a defense wall that runs along the mountain that protects from invaders as well. The fact that these artifacts are centuries old and still intact is quite unique for South Korea, as most historical artifacts were destroyed by the Japanese at the beginning of the 1900s.

Namsan Tower is one of the premier tourist attractions in Seoul, and rightfully so, if you go at night (which I extremely recommend) the entire city is lit up and you can see the entire layout of Seoul. My favorite part of the experience was looking at the side of the city that is connected by the Han river, the bridges that are built over it, light up the water and make the city look extra beautiful in that setting. Seeing as this was one of the first things that I did when I arrived in Seoul, it gave me a great impression of the city and I immediately fell in love. The other thing that was quite fun was taking the cable car up to the mountain from the bottom, it’s not too expensive and you get to see both the tower and the city as you are traveling up!


Emily Noe is a junior at the University of Missouri-Kansas City studying History. Emily is spending the semester abroad with Dongguk University in Seoul, South Korea. Emily is working towards achieving her Bachelors, Masters, and Doctorate in history.

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.

Now Hiring Work Study Positions!

International Academic Programs is hiring two Work Study Positions for Summer 2018. The position will last from June 4 to July 27, 2018. The two positions will assist with department social media efforts, event planning, database management, and student walk-in inquiries. Applicants should be current undergraduate students with a Summer Work Study Award available to work between 10 to 20 hours per week.

**Pay rates start at $10.50/hour.**

If interested, please check out the position in the Roo Career Network or forward a resume to international@umkc.edu.

We look forward to working with two great students this summer.

Finally Home

After 36 long hours of traveling home with only a couple hours of sleep, I finally arrived back in Missouri. As much as I did not want to leave South America, once it was time to do so I was ready to be home. It was great getting to see my family again after 4 months, sleep in my own bed, and eat Panera, which we stopped to get on the way home from the airport. It’s weird being back in the United States and being able to do things that I could not before, such as throw toilet paper in the toilet rather than a trash can and speak English. I think that it’s going to take a while to break these habits, however, as I still look around for the trash can and greet people in Spanish. As cliché as it sounds, my semester in Peru really was life-changing. My next semester back in KC will not be nearly as exciting, but my experiences abroad have helped me learn and gain new perspectives and I am interested to see how those guide me to make changes in my life back here in the US.


Mikayla Seabaugh is a sophomore at the University of Missouri-Kansas City studying Biology and Spanish. Mikayla is spending the semester abroad with the ISA Language, Literature, and Culture program in Cusco, Peru.

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.

Run, Run, as Fast as You Can

Picture it: A 180-year-old church; the palace of Frederick the Great; the cutesy charm of local European markets. And it almost didn’t happen – well, at least for me.

Do you know which city I’m talking about? If you guessed Potsdam, Germany, you probably paid too much attention in history class. But hey, you’d also be correct!

Universität Leipzig has a group for international students called WILMA, which stands for “Willkommens Initiative für in Leipzig Mitstudierende AusländerInnen.” I know that’s a lot, so please don’t hit the escape button.

Every so often, WILMA will take weekend day-trips to the surrounding cities of Leipzig, giving students the opportunity to explore said cities for a couple hours. Students are given an unofficial tour of the city on foot, then are set free to scare the locals (may or may not happen each time).

This was my first trip with the group, and of course I was excited because I was finally getting the chance to see a little bit of Europe without it costing an arm and a leg. Plus, I knew it would be a great chance to meet/hang out with people I’ve come to know over the past couple months.

Okay. So. Wake up super early on a Saturday? Check (worst part). Arrive at the main train station to meet WILMA? Check. Board local train with WILMA to Potsdam? Check. Okay, everything seems to be going well.

The weather’s kinda bad. Wait. The weather is actually really bad – raining, cold, lots of wind. The only thing missing is..ope, no, I said it’s raining, we’re good.

Aside from the weather, everything is going..wait. The train has just stopped, and we’re waiting.

And waiting.

And…waiting.

And…you get the picture. But why have we stopped? Turns out, we were waiting for another train to use the track we were on, but of course didn’t know when that train was coming. So, we wait for over an hour.

Not a problem. Our plans are now altered a little, but that’s okay. Train is movi…okay, NOW what?? The train stops again, but this time, the conductor comes barreling out of his cabin and heads straight for the bathroom.

Look, I get it; when you gotta go. No, THIS time, someone was SMOKING in the bathroom, which is a big no-no. Now I’m thinking we’ll never get to Potsdam. Little did I know..

So, with all these unexpected interruptions, naturally some rearranging has to happen. We’ve already missed the other train we were supposed to catch to Potsdam, so the only thing to do is wait for another one to come.

We end up having a “layover” in the city of Magdeburg, and we’re told that we will have an hour before our next train comes. Great! This will be a good opportunity to eat/restroom/explore.

Magdeburg!

One thing about trains: It doesn’t matter where you’re going. What matters is deciding to get on.

Just kidding, that’s a quote from “The Polar Express” film. But the thing about trains is, if you’re late, they don’t care. That statement almost became a reality for me. Almost.

So, I decide to go off with two people I had met earlier that day to see what we could get ourselves into. We pass some shops (*looks at phone for the time). We pass some historic-looking architecture (*okay, getting closer to having to leave). Oh, look the Elbe River! (*very-nervously thinking we need to get back to the station)

^Oh, look the Elbe River!

Our train leaves in seven minutes, and the bridge we are on taking pictures of the Elbe in the rain is definitely more than seven minutes away from the train station. Meanwhile, WILMA does not take a head count and will not politely ask the train conductor to wait.

The question now is not “if” we miss the train, but “when” we miss the train, WHAT WILL WE DO? We subconsciously agree that the only thing we CAN do is (insert my least-favorite three-letter-word here).

I kid you not, I am running so fast and so hard that I am having horrific flashbacks to middle school. It was like running the mile all over again, only this time, I had a backpack on and it was raining. Remember the awesome weather I mentioned above?

We are RUNNING through crowds of people, RUNNING through the busy train station, RUNNING up flights of stairs. My body has never felt more like jello than it does right now. At this point, I don’t even care if the train leaves, so long as I can catch my breath.

But by the grace of all that his holy, our train, for whatever reason, hasn’t left. We quickly get on board, and in all honesty, we don’t even know if it’s our train. All we know is that it’s better than nothing. (It was our train.)

We collect ourselves, catch our breath, and drink some water. The trip is still a go! And aside from that incident, the terrible weather, and the long delay, Potsdam proved to be enjoyable, not so much because of the sites (come back in the spring/summer when everything’s in bloom!), but because of the people I got to spend time with.

Check out some of the photos I took below when I wasn’t trying to cough up a lung!

 

Tschüss!

A look inside the 180-year-old rebuilt St. Nikolaikirche
Looking out from St. Nikolaikirche
Sanssouci, the summer palace of Frederick the Great (also wishing it was summer in this picture)

Vince Woods received his Bachelor’s degree in music from the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Music and Dance. He is currently a sophomore at UMKC, pursuing a second bachelor’s degree in Education with the intention of teaching German. Vince is spending the semester abroad with the MAUI-Utrecht Exchange Program in Leipzig, Germany.

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.