“I’d love to study abroad, but I could never afford to,” said nearly half of the students I talked to after coming home from a semester in Reggio Emilia, Italy. What many students do not know is how to make studying abroad financially manageable by applying to scholarships and budgeting.
When you study abroad through USAC, there are a variety of ways to fund your study abroad. At some universities, any financial aid you receive for your home university can get transferred to cover USAC fees as long as you are studying criteria that matches your major. Every university is different in their relationship with USAC so you want to be sure to speak with your advisor about financing your study abroad. In addition, USAC has tons of their own scholarships available to students. When I realized this, I became determined to apply to as many scholarships as I possibly could. That is when I stumbled upon the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program.
The Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship has two main requirements. One – you must be enrolled in a college and a study abroad program. Two – you must be receiving a Pell Grant for the semester or year you are applying for. If you fall into both of those categories, congratulations! You are now able to apply to one of the most influential and welcoming scholarships out there for students pursuing studying abroad.
The application process is also quite simple. There are two main essays that you write for the application. The first essay is called the Statement of Purpose essay, which is where you right about why you have chosen to study abroad and the benefits it holds. Then you come up with a follow-up project once you get home to show your time abroad and describe your idea of broadcasting it in the second essay. I began working on my application a month before the due date. This year, it is due on March 5th, so I highly recommend you to check out their application now
The Gilman Scholarship Program has over 28,000 alumni. If you are awarded a scholarship from the Gilman Program, you get the amazing opportunity to join an online community where all alumni discuss job, volunteer, and internship opportunities all around the world. This program also awards recipients directly to them so that you can use it to cover costs that financial aid does not consider, such as rent or flights. I would have had to worry a lot more about finances while abroad if it were not for this amazing opportunity I got from the Gilman Program.
Once I was notified that I had been awarded from the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program, I began to budget. USAC offers an extremely helpful tool online called the interactive budget sheet. This realistic chart helps you plan out how much money you will need while abroad and can be accessed on your Gateway account.
Applying to scholarships such as the Gilman Program helps students out a lot in the long run. You are able to not worry about finances while abroad so that you can immerse yourself in the culture and study in a place unlike anywhere you have ever been before. Plan ahead for your study abroad experience and you will not regret it.
- Benjamin A. Gilman Scholarship Application: https://gilmanapplication.iie.org/Applicant/AlumniHome.aspx
- Check out the video I made of my experience abroad! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pKrtQxnqFek
- USAC Interactive Budget Sheet: https://secure.usac.edu/study-abroad-programs/costa-rica/san-ramon/budget-sheet/2014/fall
Morgen Manley is a University of Nevada, Reno student. She studied abroad in Reggio Emilia, Italy.