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Overcoming the Language Barrier

One major part of the study abroad program is that each student stays with a host family for the entirety of the trip. In an effort to fully emerge us into French culture, the family kind of adopts us into their daily life and most importantly, they only talk to us in French. In theory, this seems like a very good idea as it provides us with the best possible way of improving our French, as we are constantly around the language and are forced to use it to communicate. However, it also has an unintended side effect by the way that it clearly delineates the presence of a language barrier, an obstacle I had never considered until I arrived here. Now, it is true that I do speak some French, but it’s more like what I like to refer to as “baby French”. And trust me, I had no misguided beliefs that I was going to arrive here and just start spurting perfect French. It takes a lot of effort for me to speak French conversationally, especially in the beginning. I had to think about everything I wanted to say very carefully. Then there is the added struggle of comprehending what is being said to me. It’s not too bad in a one-on-one conversation, but I’ve been staying with a family of seven. So every dinner or breakfast is kind of like a marathon for me as I try to keep up with everything that is being said, as both the parents and the children talk at full speed over each other.

I think this was such a big shift for me because I’ve always been able to articulate exactly what I want to say so that it is perceived and understood in the way that I want it to come across (at least to a certain extent). But, in French, I can’t do that. Furthermore, the way I communicate is a direct illustration of my personality. I’m a little sarcastic and silly all at the same time, all of which I communicate through my choice of words and tone. But again, in French, I can’t communicate that with my words. Realizing this made me feel as though my host family would never really get to know me and that inversely, I would never fully understand them. I had never fully understood the concept of a language barrier until that moment. Language can serve as a bridge that connects people or it can serve as a wall that isolates you. However, it wasn’t the source of the isolation, but only the tool used by it to enhance something that was already present. As with most emotions, the sense of isolation I felt came from the inside, created and cultivated by me.

Looking back on the first two weeks that I was in Lyon, when I felt this sense of isolation the most intensely, I can easily see how my host family continually tried to connect with me and include me in their family. They were kind as well as attentive and during group discussions, like the ones that would occur at dinner, they would slow down to make sure that I could understand, ask me questions so that I could join the conversation, and patiently wait as I tried to articulate my idea. My obstacle wasn’t the language or even being intimidated by the rapid French of my host family, it was me. I needed to be patient with myself, allow myself to make mistakes, and most importantly, to keep trying. In the end, when I look back on my trip, my host family was probably one of the best parts. I will be forever happy that they decided to adopt me into their home and that I put out the effort to make a connection with them, instead of allowing the language barrier to form a wall in between us.


Hannah-Kaye Carter is a junior at the University of Missouri- Kansas City double majoring in chemistry and psychology with minors in French and biology. She is spending her summer abroad with the Faculty-Led UMKC French Language Summer in Lyon, France. Hannah-Kaye was born in Kingston, Jamaica, where she lived until she immigrated to the United States at 9 years old. Currently, Hannah-Kaye is a member of the UMKC Pre-Med Society and a member of the Educate Organize and Advocate Committee. Additionally, she volunteers at the W.E.B. Dubois Learning Center as an assistant teacher in their subtraction classroom every Saturday morning. Her hope is to someday go to medical school, become a doctor, and eventually become a member of Doctors without Borders.


Disclaimer:

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.

Home and Dreaming of Travel

I’ve been home for a few weeks now and I am still thinking about Prague. They warned me before I left about reverse culture shock I may feel upon coming home. I figured this was something that only happened to some people and I would be fine (because I was afraid of being homesick and having bad culture shock when arriving in Prague). I did, however, get reverse culture shock.

When studying abroad, be aware of this. You have so much fun and it goes by so quickly when you are traveling. Then, when it’s time to go home, you are usually excited because you finally get to go home and see your family, friends, and everything else you have been missing at home. When you get home, you will probably be exhausted from travel, but excited to share your experiences with everyone. It gets hard after you have been home for a while though. You start to miss the routine you had while you were abroad, the different life you were living, and for me especially, my new friends.

I recommend making the most of the final days in your country of study. Whether that be going to the final places you haven’t been, going to some of your favorite spots, or just hanging out with the people you had the most fun with. For myself, this meant all three of these things. On our last day, some people had left, others had gone in their own direction, but it ended up just being a group of around 8 of us left. We had a farewell lunch with our program leader and professor, then it was off to enjoy the day.

Me and my group of friends at the Lennon Wall.

We wrote on the Lennon Wall, each with our own quote that would stay on the wall as a happy sentiment. We made sure to all take a lot of pictures that day as well.

Then, we all decided to go to the Vlatava River in the center of Prague to go for a paddle boat ride. This was the most relaxing time I had in Prague and I got to just soak up my surrounding and the time I was having, which was really nice.

After dinner, we ended our time in Prague by walking around the city and retracing the steps we had taken on the very first night. Passing the old town square, the pub where we introduced ourselves, and finally making our way back home for the last time to our apartments. The goodbyes were hard. A lot harder than I thought they would be. We all agreed we would keep in touch, and although we don’t all live in the same place, we would come visit each other and maybe one day, make it back to Prague. The hardest goodbye for me was my new friend I had made, Emma. Throughout that month we had been with each other non-stop and it is weird not to have that anymore.

Me and Emma.

In ending my travels, as well as this blog, I would just like to give one final piece of advice:

Wherever you go, and whatever you do in your travels, make sure you take it all in, do things you have never done before, and just simply enjoy yourself because you never know when you’ll be able to do something like this again.

Isabelle Pekarsky is a junior at the University of Missouri- Kansas City studying political science. Her hometown is KCMO. Isabelle is spending the summer abroad with the Developing Dynamics of Democracy Program in Prague, Czech Republic. Isabelle’s goals are to attend law school after graduating in May 2020 and possibly pursue work in international relations. She believes her experiences studying abroad will help her learn more about democracies in other countries.


Disclaimer:  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.

Exploration

As of today, I’ve been in Lyon for exactly three weeks. In spite of this fact, I still haven’t been able to shake the excitement that I feel when I think about the fact that I’ve been living in Europe. It’s kind of silly, I know, but that feeling of excitement still hasn’t worn off. Even though, I’ve been able to explore a lot of the city by now, there is still so much I haven’t seen as there is so much to do and see here. I love everything about Lyon, the people, the food, but especially the architecture. To me it is the most beautiful part of the city and it is so full of history.

For example, there is a section of the city called Vieux Lyon, which literally means old Lyon. That part of the city holds all of the oldest buildings and is one of Europe’s largest Renaissance neighborhoods. Vieux Lyon is divided into three sections, each of which has its own specific style of architecture. There is the Saint Jean quarter, which was constructed in the Middle ages, where all the buildings in that region exemplify gothic architecture. The best example of this is definitely St. Jean’s cathedral, which is pictured on the right. Walking around in that cathedral was completely surreal and it left me wondering how they could have possibly managed to build something like this at a time when flashlights where not even an idea that had been imagined yet. However, it is nothing compared to the Basilique de Fouvrière (on the left), which has ceilings so beautiful that most people who enter the cathedral spend half of their time there, just gawking at the ceiling.

Then there is also the Saint Paul section, where many Italian bankers/merchants had settled in the 15th and 16th century. As a result of this, all the buildings in this region resemble those that you would find in Italy. Finally, and probably the most interesting section, at least according to me, is the Saint Georges quarter, where there are actually secret passageways throughout the buildings known as les traboules. It might have my inner child or just the fact that I love adventure movies, but even though they were created for very practical reasons, to help silk weavers transport their products, walking through les traboules was probably one the most exciting part of exploring the city for me.

With that said, I feel like it’s only fair that I share the downsides to living in Lyon, all two of them. Firstly, almost everyone smokes and they smoke everywhere: in the house, in the university, on the metro, and at the bus stop. Just everywhere! You can’t escape it. No matter where you go, you will always be choking on someone’s cigarette smoke. However, I’m pretty sure that this habit isn’t just specific to Lyon. Secondly, the bathroom situation is a source of continual annoyance. Either, the bathroom is incredibly disgusting or you have to pay to go to the bathroom. Yes, you read that correctly, pay to use the bathroom! I’m sure they have a semi-logical reason for doing this, which at this point I don’t know and can’t think of, but I will never understand paying to use the bathroom. If you need to use the bathroom, you just have to use the bathroom. This isn’t something you can control. And I know you must be thinking, “Oh you could probably just sneak in”, but no, you really can’t, as there is a worker who stays in the bathroom at all times, monitoring who comes and goes to the bathroom. A riveting job, I’m sure! In spite of these two things, I wouldn’t trade my summer in Lyon for anything.

 


Hannah-Kaye Carter is a junior at the University of Missouri- Kansas City double majoring in chemistry and psychology with minors in French and biology. She is spending her summer abroad with the Faculty-Led UMKC French Language Summer in Lyon, France. Hannah-Kaye was born in Kingston, Jamaica, where she lived until she immigrated to the United States at 9 years old. Currently, Hannah-Kaye is a member of the UMKC Pre-Med Society and a member of the Educate Organize and Advocate Committee. Additionally, she volunteers at the W.E.B. Dubois Learning Center as an assistant teacher in their subtraction classroom every Saturday morning. Her hope is to someday go to medical school, become a doctor, and eventually become a member of Doctors without Borders. 

Disclaimer:
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.

Tranquilidad, a Costa Rican way of life

Tranquila.

If you don’t speak Spanish, it’s a word that describes calm, a general free from worry, and most importantly, the laid back attitude of Costa Rica.

It’s also one of the most common phrases or expressions you’ll hear, especially if you’re an American with an anxiety disorder who worries about literally everything. Typically, this word is used as an adjective in Spanish, but in Costa Rican Spanish, they’ve adapted this word into a command, and a way of life.

Before I left, I had read about this, and noted that it was best to remain calm in all situations here, because Costa Ricans value peace over everything.

My first real experience with this expression was during an Uber ride home…after dark. It gets dark around 6:00 P.M. here, so even if you´re not out super late, it feels like you are.

Also a fun side note, in Costa Rica, addresses are a bit…different, to say the least. The way they navigate through a city is by using a focal point (we use the local mall), then describing how far you have to walk in a direction from that focal point…then describing what the house looks like.

There are street signs, people have tried to modernize the address system, but the old ways have stuck. Which means if you’re not a local, you could be stuck scratching your head while you’re trying to ask for help from strangers.

Back to the Uber ride.

Because addresses are different here, Uber only let me put in the beginning of the address, which luckily was the name of the area. It won’t exactly take the driver to your home stay, but it’ll land you somewhat near there. I also have a picture of the front of the house so that I remember what it looks like.

Nuestra Casa Costarricense, Our Costa Rican House

So the Uber driver stops where we’re apparently supposed to get out, but my roommate and I aren’t quite familiar with the area yet and its also dark…so my anxiety starts to set in.

I nervously tell the driver in Spanish that we don’t know where we are, and that we are new here. He genuinely tries to help us, but it’s hard because Spanish isn’t our first language, and we don’t exactly know what to do in this situation.

I remembered that our host mom had written down the ‘address’ on a piece of paper and gave it to us, so I gave this to the driver and also pulled open Google Maps so that I could try to get a sense of where we were in the area. I vaguely remember a bit more and tell the driver, but he completely passes the area and gets back on the main road.

And then, the anxiety started to creep in even more.

While my roommate and I have gotten a bit more of a sense as to where we were, my nerves got the best of me and I tell him too excitedly that he passed it, and that we have to go back.

“Tranquila.”

This was the word he uttered to me as he turned around and attempted to get back to where we needed to be.

My roommate described this to me later because I didn’t see it, but I guess he gave me a look, like he was genuinely concerned for me and also not sure why I was so on edge.

Of course, we made it home, and we thanked him a million times. One of my Costa Rican friends told me that people here will genuinely try to help you, and he technically did not have to go so out of his way to make sure we made it just to the house, because the Uber application told us we had reached our destination that we put in. I made sure to tip him well.

So with one week down, I’m remembering to keep my head together and stay calm in a foreign country. And remember my friends,

“Tranquila.”

Everything will be all right.


Sarah Schleicher is a senior at the University of Missouri – Kansas City majoring in Spanish and minoring in Latinx Studies. She will be taking the last two required classes for her B.A. this summer in Heredia, Costa Rica. She is currently a Pre-K teacher and Enrichment Coordinator, and she would eventually like to work supporting Spanish speaking children.

Disclaimer:  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 Bizarre Pairing of Dreams and Fears

All week I have been anxiously awaiting Saturday, June 1st, the day that marks the beginning of my study abroad adventure in
Lyon with a 14 hour and 50-minute journey into another hemisphere. Although, I have spent the majority of my short life daydreaming about what it would be like to live in France, the food I would eat, the people I would meet, and all the adventures I would have, the majority of my thoughts leading up to my departure have been rooted in a mixture of fear and anxiety with a small sprinkling of excitement that easily disappears within my nervousness. My apprehensive and ever restless mind races through all the possible pitfalls I could encounter during my once excitedly anticipated adventure that my thoughts have now crafted into a somewhat unwelcome nightmare. From losing all my luggage to getting robbed in the subway and being left penniless, without any form of ID in a foreign country, my mind imagines and brings to life with a startling sense of realness all the bad things that could conceivably befall a naïve and doe-eyed girl such as myself.

This persistent state of worry that has entangled my brain is made worse by my mom’s boundless paranoia. If I’m being completely honest, I had not even considered any of the dangers that come with traveling abroad until my mom started sharing news stories of people who were kidnapped and sold into human trafficking rings with me. Extreme? Yes, but that’s my mom and deep down I know that she does it out of concern for me as she knows that I have a tendency to jump into things head first without really considering all the consequences. Like I said before, I can be a bit naïve. In spite of this self-awareness, just like every other time she’s tried to scare me into taking my head out of the clouds and bring me back to reality, I brush it off and tell her not to be so paranoid. Yet, we’re both aware that her words stick. Acting like a light switch, they turn on all my anxiety and put my brain into an anxious overdrive, forcing me to face a pessimistic reality that I had been suppressing while jolting all my nervous energy back to life.

However, as I sit on an old rickety chair in the crappy basement of the expensive, but yet dilapidated apartment building that I call home with tornado sirens blaring all around me, I’m hit with a sense of calm as I realize that this Saturday I get to escape my reality and finally live within my daydream. Despite the fact that no real harm has reached me, the calm demeanor that encompasses my mind and actions during this extremely intense situation assures me that no matter the problems that might await me while abroad, I will be able to take them on with the same calm and sound mind. The sprinkle of excitement for my upcoming trip returns and multiples, growing stronger by the minute, as I come to the realization that fear precedes every exciting and novel adventure that a person takes in life. While our fear serves a purpose of keeping us alert and prepared, it is important to not let it overwhelm us, since in the end, some of our most anticipated fears turn into our most cherished memories or at the very least funny stories that we can use to make ourselves seem more interesting than we really are.

 


Hannah-Kaye Carter is a junior at the University of Missouri- Kansas City double majoring in chemistry and psychology with minors in French and biology. She is spending her summer abroad with the Faculty-Led UMKC French Language Summer in Lyon, France. Hannah-Kaye was born in Kingston, Jamaica, where she lived until she immigrated to the United States at 9 years old. Her hope is to someday go to medical school, become a doctor, and eventually become a member of Doctors without Borders.

Disclaimer:  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.

STUDY ABROAD TIPS

Who ME?

As a first-generation college student, I never thought college was possible. I did not think I could afford to study abroad. However, I have a few tips that have helped me get to this point.

Born and raised in Kansas City, Missouri

Start EARLY!

As soon as I transferred to UMKC I emailed Study Abroad and Global Engagement. Within my first meetings with SAGE, they helped me create a list of deadlines to complete and resources on campus that can help me along the way.

Choose a Program That Works for YOU

As a Health Science Major, it was hard for me to find an appropriate program that worked with my degree and would not push back my graduation. The staff at SAGE mentioned to me a Summer Faculty-Led Program would work great for me since it is in the summer and it will provide 9 college credit hours towards a Spanish Language minor and/or major.

Apply to SCHOLARSHIPS

When I saw the total cost of how much it was to study abroad, I almost gave up and said: “there is no way I can afford that”. However, there are various ways to pay for study abroad programs with scholarships. One great scholarship called The Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program is open to U.S. Citizen undergraduate students who are receiving Federal Pell Grant. This scholarship has two scholarship cycles for the summer term. The summer “early” application is due in October and the summer “regular” application in March. I am grateful to have received a significant Gilman Scholarship. Study Abroad and Global Engagement provides scholarships to students as well.

Use Campus RESOURCES

There are resources on campus that can help you with the scholarship process. At the beginning of my career at UMKC, I did not know we had the Writing Studio who can proofread your paper for organization, content, and grammar. This is a great resource to use if you are applying to the Gilman Scholarship or a SAGE scholarship. Another set of eyes is always good to make sure your paper is well written.

Start Saving MONEY

Setting a small reasonable amount can be helpful when things you didn’t even think of can come up. For example, an outlet converter/adaptor, travel size hygiene products and even a checked bag fee. Things can come up and having some spare money to be able to make purchases like this can really come in handy.

As the days count down, it just goes to show how fast time goes by. My first year at UMKC went by so quickly! There were many obstacles along the way. I stuck through them and everything worked out. In just a few weeks I will be leaving my hometown, Kansas City to immerse myself into a different environment for 6 weeks in Malaga, Spain to continue finding my passion and learning more about myself.


Brian Ramirez is a junior at the University of Missouri- Kansas City and a Kansas City native. He is studying health science and Spanish. Brian is spending the summer abroad as a Gilman Scholar with the Faculty-Led UMKC Spanish Language Summer in Malaga, Spain.

Disclaimer:  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.

All Packed for Prague

It’s the day before I leave for Prague, Czech Republic for my study abroad program. It has been a busy day and it has gone by quickly. I have packed a lot into the day (literally and figuratively).

I pretty much put everything off until today, from packing, to gathering documentation and of course, goodbyes. I got up today with ambition, ready to get everything ready, but this was hard to say the least. Fitting a month’s worth of my life into one suitcase was one of the hardest. This is only my second time leaving the country, and my first time in Europe, and I was not sure what to pack or what I would need. Finally, I got everything packed (Vacuum bags are a lifesaver when it comes to saving space in your luggage).

Halfway through the day my family came over for a farewell lunch. It was a lot of fun to tell them my plans and have them be so excited for me! My aunt brought me a shirt from “Planet Hollywood Praha”, from when she went to Prague around 20 years ago. I got to hear stories about where I am going from someone who has been there first hand, which was a good experience.

Each one of my family members wrote me a letter to take with me to Prague. This is going to be something that I think will really help me when I am feeling homesick. Instead of writing that they will miss me, they decided to write me words of encouragement, which is something I appreciate when I’m feeling down.

Overall, I am so excited to leave tomorrow. I’m excited for the experiences and learning opportunities, the people I am going to meet, and all the places I am going to see. All of this being said, I am anxious. I have never been away from my family and friends for this long, so this is going to be hard. I know I am going to have hard days where I am sad and miss home, but I look forward to the days that I am exploring and am able to remember that I will be home soon, so I have to enjoy the moments I have in Prague!

Even-though today has been a long, crazy day, at least I’m packed!

I look forward to sharing my study abroad journey with all of you and can’t wait to write again when I get to Prague. Until then, Ahoj (Goodbye)!

Isabelle Pekarsky is a junior at the University of Missouri- Kansas City studying political science. Her hometown is KCMO. Isabelle is spending the summer abroad with the Developing Dynamics of Democracy Program in Prague, Czech Republic. Isabelle’s goals are to attend law school after graduating in May 2020 and possibly pursue work in international relations. She believes her experiences studying abroad will help her learn more about democracies in other countries.

Disclaimer:  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.

Preparing for Prague with Anthony Bourdain

I’ve always loved watching Anthony Bourdain’s travel and food show, “Parts Unknown.” Through my TV screen, I’ve joined in on Bourdain’s travels across the world. From a distance, I accompanied Bourdain on his $6 meal with President Obama in Hanoi, Vietnam; his pub meals in London briefly after the Brexit decision; and in Senegal, when he sat outside in a circle around a communal dish eating Thiéboudienne, the country’s national dish. From my screen, I’ve seen the world and its meals.

The time has come for me to turn off the TV and begin my own exploring. This summer, I’ll be in the beautiful Czech Republic (also sometimes called Czechia). The Czech Republic is a landlocked country located smack-dab in the middle of Europe. Its capital, Prague, is where I’ll be staying. Prague is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. Since Prague was never damaged by World War II, its original architectural beauty has been maintained throughout history.

The Czech Republic sits in the heart of Europe.
The Church of Our Lady Before Týn, a beautiful Gothic-style church in Prague. Photo via Prague’s official tourism site, prague.eu.

In Prague, I’ll be studying at Charles University. Charles University is known as one of the oldest and most prestigious universities in Central Europe. I have the incredible opportunity to take classes there as part of their Intercultural Studies Program, where I’ll be spending nearly seven weeks this summer.

This Baroque library hall originally belonged to Charles University in Prague. Now, it is maintained by the Czech National Library.  Photo from Klementium Guided Tours.

Anthony Bourdain never had a “Parts Unknown” episode in Prague, so Prague truly is relatively unknown to me. However, as I gear up for my trip, I’ve learned a few lessons from other episodes that I think I’m going to pack up to bring with me. These are to remind myself of what’s important about travel. While the summaries of my lessons from Bourdain are nowhere near as eloquent as his original thoughts and words, I hope that they, too, find a way to inspire someone.

  1. Never turn down a meal. Meals are an invitation into someone else’s culture. Always be mindful that a rejection of a dish could translate into a rejection of someone’s pride in their home country. That being said, I can’t wait to try Czech food.
  2. Let your plans and your time be flexible. The best travel doesn’t follow a perfect itinerary. The best travel allows for time to stop and smell the roses.. or to stop and buy the street food.
  3. Be open to new things. If you’re only doing things you’ve always done, you’ll miss out on most of what the world has to offer.
  4. Spend time with the locals. No one knows a city or its culture better than the people who live there.
  5. Embrace the uncertainty. This is what travel is about — letting our guards down and allowing the world to let us know that we don’t know as much as we think we do.

With Bordain’s lessons in my back pocket, I expect to honor his memory by soaking in every moment of my time living abroad. When you hear from me next, I’ll be in Prague!


Helene Slinker is a senior at the University of Missouri- Kansas City. Helene is spending her summer studying in Prague, Czech Republic through the Charles University Intercultural Studies program, taking classes that contribute to her political science major and women’s and gender studies minor. Helene is eager to learn more about Central and Eastern European politics through this program and explore the Czech Republic.

Disclaimer:  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.

Crafting Your Gilman Essay

Crafting a Competitive Gilman Essay: Tips

Image result for writing clip art

 

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.