As study abroad programs return from the upheaval of the COVID-19 pandemic, Knox students are once again finding a variety of ways to fund their travels. The U.S. Department of State's Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship program, which supports undergraduates of limited financial means to pursue study abroad, recently announced that three Knox students are among the scholarship recipients for the latest application cycle.
“I have wanted to study abroad since I was a first-year,” said Juan Ramirez '23, who plans to study in Greece. “But I didn’t know how I was going to pay for it.” He mentioned that, without a scholarship like the Gilman, he wouldn’t have been able to study abroad with as much ease—or perhaps at all.
“Nobody in my family has ever had an opportunity to study, let alone study in another country, so I’m going to have an experience that is unique to others like me,” he said. “Future underrepresented students who dream of studying abroad can see that it’s possible even against the odds.”
Vanessa Jackson '23, who plans to study abroad in Morocco, noted that one of the driving factors for her decision to apply for the Gilman was the community surrounding the program. “I will find other recipients that I can relate to and hopefully, build connections with,” she said. “Before starting Knox, I did not know anything about Gilman. In fact, I had never even heard of it, so, of course, I did not think that this would be an opportunity that applied to me. Now that I am reflecting on this experience, I think it's an honor, and I hope to let other students like me know that this applies to them and even help them in their application process.”
Numerous advisors helped Jackson with her application, including Assistant Director of the TRIO program Laura Bush and Todd Heidt, Associate Professor in Modern Languages, Chair of International Studies, and director of the Eleanor Stellyes Center for Global Studies.
Ramirez echoed Jackson’s experience, noting that he probably revised his essays over a dozen times before finally submitting them. “I asked for help from almost everyone that I knew. I asked my friends, TRIO advisors, writing advisors, writing workshop tutors, and Todd Heidt, to read them over,” he said. “The rest of the application was fairly straightforward, but part of what made the process so smooth was that I also met with my advisors.”
Ramirez said that his number one piece of advice for those applying to the Gilman and other similar programs is to ask plenty of questions. “Applying for scholarships can be challenging so it’s important to find people that can help you and ask questions,” he said. “The last advice I’d give is to persevere.”
Learn more about opportunities to study abroad at Knox.
Below is a list of the awardees and their plans to study abroad during the 2021-22 academic year using the Gilman scholarship.
Above photo was provided by Cathy Satyal '21 from her study abroad in Copenhagen.