Myth Busting: Study Abroad Is Not Out of Reach

Gilman scholarship enables students of limited financial means to study internationally.

Febo-Gomez in the "Park of the Exposition" in Lima, Peru.

ALBANY, N.Y. (Feb. 27, 2018) – As appealing as living in a foreign country and culture might sound, the idea of doing so as a college student can sometimes seem unrealistic, especially considering the costs that travel requires.

Christine Febo-Gomez, a junior Sociology major and Spanish minor, is proof that financial limitations are just that – limitations and not barriers.

A Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship took Febo-Gomez to Lima, Peru, for the 2017 winter session, fulfilling her dream of studying in a Spanish-speaking country.

Febo-Gomez said the program was meaningful from several perspectives.

“It was interesting studying how people do things every day, and I learned a lot about their government,” according to Febo-Gomez, who said she plans to pursue social work following graduation in the spring of 2019.

Staying with a host family in Milaflores, a district in Lima, she attended Ecela, an intense-language program in Peru administered also through sister schools in Argentina and Chile.

Febo-Gomez said that despite her qualms about studying in a foreign land for the first time, she was thankful to have gone through with the opportunity.

“Everyone should study abroad if they can, because it’s a really good experience, and you become more independent and see more of other people’s cultures,” she said. “Have the guts to do it by yourself, and don’t let anyone bring you down.”

She said extracurricular highlights for her included paragliding, surfing and sandboarding all for the first time.

Doing Due Diligence

The Gilman Scholarship is just one source of financial help getting abroad.

“If you have your heart set on study abroad, if you want to be more globally minded or incorporate the global community within your own discipline, then study abroad is what you should do,” said Jacqueline Ledermann, assistant director of Global Academic Programs. “If finances hinder you in order to do that, you should look into scholarships like Gilman.”

The Gilman Scholarship is designed to enable students of limited financial means to study or intern abroad, according to the scholarship’s official website. The Gilman is open to all U.S. citizen undergraduates receiving Federal Pell Grant funding at a two- or four-year college or university.

The deadline to apply for the Gilman Scholarship is March 6 for students who plan on to study abroad for the 2018 summer or fall semester, or the 2018-2019 academic year.

For more information, visit the website.

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A comprehensive public research university, the University at Albany-SUNY offers more than 120 undergraduate majors and minors and 125 master's, doctoral and graduate certificate programs. UAlbany is a leader among all New York State colleges and universities in such diverse fields as atmospheric and environmental sciences, businesseducation, public health,health sciences, criminal justice, emergency preparedness, engineering and applied sciences, informatics, public administration, social welfare and sociology, taught by an extensive roster of faculty experts. It also offers expanded academic and research opportunities for students through an affiliation with Albany Law School. With a curriculum enhanced by 600 study-abroad opportunities, UAlbany launches great careers.