I am currently going into my senior year, which is usually when you complete your study abroad experience. After searching extensively for a program that fit my interests I settled on the Khon Kaen, Thailand Development and Globalization program offered by The Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE). The program description sounded as if it had been written for me! That is until I scrolled down and saw how much it would cost for one semester of study. The cost was more than double the funding I would receive from my academic scholarship, and not wanting to take out any loans, I began to look at other ways to help finance my study abroad experience. That is when I learned about the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program.
The Program offers grants for "U.S. citizen undergraduate students of limited financial means to pursue academic studies abroad. Such international study is intended to better prepare U.S. students to assume significant roles in an increasingly global economy and interdependent world." The application process does take a considerable amount of time; however, it is certainly worth the effort for anyone that wishes to study abroad but is worried about the cost.
Gilman Scholarship recipients may receive up to $5,000 in funding and are selected on the basis of applicant diversity, a statement of purpose essay, a follow-on project proposal essay, academic progress and performance, fields of study, country of destination, length of study, and lack of previous undergraduate study abroad experience. Furthermore, students at community colleges are strongly encouraged to apply. All applicants, however, must qualify for a federal Pell grant.
If chosen as a Gilman Scholarship recipient, you are required to complete a follow-on service project to promote education abroad and the Gilman International Scholarship program. Hence, the creation of this Blog! My follow-on project proposal was to keep a blog on my observations on development and environmental issues in Thailand. My goal is to inform interested readers about critical development issues that impact the Thai people and the environment, but also to spark a curiosity in other students about the cultures, customs , and challenges of other nations. I hope that this new found curiosity will motivate others to pursue a study abroad experience of their own in the future.
Below is a link if you are interested in more information on the Gilman International Scholarship:
I anticipate most of my blog postings to be observations from my travel, cultural, and fieldwork experiences; however, I will also try to include historical background information about Thailand to help put my observations into context. Additionally, I plan to post pictures of experiences that I blog about.
Comments are encouraged, as I would love to hear the thoughts of any readers on the topics that I chronicle. Stay tuned...