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.