Funding Tips, Gilman Scholarship, Preparing for Study Abroad

March 1! Save the date!

January 12, 2016

Happy 2016! And welcome to another semester at SF State. For those of you set on Studying Abroad for the Fall 2016 semester (and for those of you who are perhaps not sure), the Gilman Scholarship deadline is just around the corner.

What is the Gilman Scholarship?

This is a scholarship especially for study abroad students funded by Congress. The maximum amount awarded is 5,000 dollars and over 2,700 scholarships are awarded.

The application itself consists of two essays. One is a personal statement type essay and in the other you have to propose a follow up project which you have to complete after your time abroad.

Why should I apply for the Gilman Scholarship?

Not only is the Gilman Scholarship really helpful financially for students abroad, it’s also very prestigious to receive. Gilman alumni go on to do all sorts of really exciting things, abroad and back home. The application itself is also not very difficult if you allocate enough time and effort. Another important thing to keep in mind is that if you receive FAFSA and are planning to apply to study abroad, your application requires that you apply to the Gilman.

How do I apply for the Gilman Scholarship?

It’s as easy as clicking a link!

When should I start?

As soon as possible! However, you have until March 1st to actually submit the application. Give yourself at least a month to complete this application. By the first week of February, you should have started brainstorming your ideas. By the second week, you should have at least started a rough draft. On the third week, it is ideal to have someone read your essay, just to check for any grammatical errors. By the end of the fourth week, you want to have these essays completed and ready to submit on the first.

DO NOT SUBMIT THIS ON THE LAST MINUTE! I know it’s hard not to, but giving yourself enough time to complete this application will ensure that everything goes smoothly.

Wait, did you say there’s a follow up project?

Yes, there’s a follow up project. But don’t worry, you don’t have to serve in the Army or anything! Follow up projects can be as easy as writing a blog or volunteering at the Study Abroad office. The main point of doing a follow up project is that you have to promote studying abroad in some way or another and pass on the torch to future study abroad-ers. Here are some exciting examples of what past recipients have done taken straight from the Gilman site!:

K-12 Outreach

Some projects Gilman Scholars have carried out include:

a) Conducting presentations on their country of study to local elementary classrooms.

b) Working with a local teacher to incorporate study of a specific country into the curriculum with photos, letters and emails from the Gilman Scholar while s/he was abroad, as well as items the student brings back with him/her from his/her host country (i.e. newspapers, menus, magazines, clothing, textbooks, toys, etc.).

c) Organizing a pen-pal program between a local classroom and a classroom in the student’s host country.

d) Organizing and/or working with their university K-12 outreach program, bringing international students into local classrooms to present and share information on their home countries.

e) Participating in their local high school College Night to share information on study abroad opportunities and scholarships.

f) Working with/giving presentations on study abroad to high school language or area studies classes.

g) Working with/giving presentations on study abroad and scholarships to programs that mentor high school students such as the Upward Bound program.

Academic Department Outreach:

Students in fields of study traditionally under-represented in U.S. study abroad often choose to focus on their academic department when carrying out their project. Examples of these projects include:

a) Development of a study abroad information page for the department website that lists a suggested academic timeline encouraging students to incorporate study abroad into their degree

b) Organizing information on university-approved study abroad programs that offer coursework and academic credit in their field of study and links to scholarships and financial aid information that support these opportunities

c) Presentations on study abroad at academic club or honor society meetings

d) Development of a brochure or informational flyer specific to that field of study that is then posted in the study abroad office

e) Serving as a mentor/peer advisor to potential study abroad students in their field of study

f) Submitting an article to their academic department newsletter on their experiences abroad either while the student is still overseas or upon their return.

Campus Office Outreach:

Students often propose to work with a specific on-campus office including the Diversity/Minority Services offices, Disability Services offices, the Financial Aid office, Student-Leadership office, and other campus offices. Examples of these projects include:

a) Working with the university office to help promote and encourage study abroad opportunities through presentations to student clubs and organizations and through office organized events

b) Posting information on the Gilman Scholarship Program in specific campus offices

c) Adding a web page to the office website that highlights study abroad opportunities and information that would be of help/interest to students

d) Serving as an office representative at campus fairs and events by sharing information on study abroad and the Gilman Scholarship Program

Study Abroad Outreach:

This is the most common type of Follow-on Service Project students propose. Examples of these projects include:

a) Volunteering or working in the study abroad office as a Peer Mentor/Advisor to potential study abroad students

b) Representing the study abroad office at presentations/information sessions on study abroad

c) Ensuring the study abroad office website has a Scholarship Information page and that a link to the Gilman Scholarship Program’s website is provided

d) Submitting an article on their experiences abroad to the Study Abroad office newsletter either while they are still abroad or upon their return

e) Developing an informational flyer/brochure on university-specific financial aid procedures for study abroad and available scholarships which is then housed in the study abroad office

f) Participating in/organizing a Study Abroad Alumni society which assists returned and potential study abroad students

g) Serving as a resource person for a specific country/program/field of study that would advise/assist potential study abroad students

Other Outreach:

There are a variety of other types of programs that students have proposed. Some examples include:

a) Submitting a weekly or monthly article on their experiences overseas to their campus or hometown newspaper while the students are abroad, thereby sharing information with a wide range of readers

b) Submitting an article on their experiences abroad to their campus or hometown paper upon their return to the U.S.

c) Working/volunteering with a local refugee or immigrant organization thereby utilizing the inter-cultural skills they acquired overseas

d) Working/volunteering as an interpreter with a local organization in need of those skills

e) Participating in/organizing an on-campus International Student buddy program that links incoming international students with past study abroad students to assist in their adjustment to the U.S. and the university – this may be an especially effective option for those campuses that have exchange programs with a university overseas

f) Participating in campus or local international events such as an International Fair, Chinese New Year or other celebrations

g) Working with another local organization to share information on study abroad and the country they studied in with their members

h) Presenting on study abroad opportunities and the Gilman Scholarship Program at Freshman Orientation or in First-Year Experiences courses thereby encouraging students to consider study abroad earlier rather than later.

Now, give them hell!

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1 Comment

  • Janelle Waldrep January 13, 2016 at 12:06 am

    Great advice! The Gilman Scholarship is open to US citizens receiving a Pell Grant and applying to study abroad. SF State has enjoyed great success with 1 in 3 students applying, receiving a scholarship. All applicants are encouraged to attend an upcoming workshop in the Office of International Programs:

    Tuesday, February 9th at 1:00 pm
    Wednesday, February 10th at 11:00 am
    Monday, February 15th at 4:00 pm
    Thursday, February 18th at Noon
    Friday, February 19th at 3:00 pm
    Monday, February 22nd at 2:00 pm

    Deadline is 9:59 pm, March 1st (Tuesday)

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