Author Archives: Gilman Scholarship

About Gilman Scholarship

The Gilman International Scholarship provides grants for U.S. undergraduate students who are receiving Federal Pell Grant funding at a two-year or four-year college or university to participate in study abroad programs worldwide. The Gilman Scholarship Program seeks to diversify the kinds of students who study abroad & the countries and regions where they go. Such international study is intended to better prepare U.S. students to assume significant roles in an increasingly global economy and interdependent world. The program aims to encourage students to choose non-traditional study abroad destinations, especially those outside of Western Europe, Australia and New Zealand. The Gilman Scholarship Program aims to support students who have been traditionally under-represented in study abroad, including but not limited to, students with high financial need, community college students, students in under-represented fields such as the sciences and engineering, students with diverse ethnic backgrounds, and students with disabilities. The program seeks to assist students from a diverse range of public and private institutions from all 50 states, Washington, DC and Puerto Rico.

Gilman Scholar Dustin Ellis’ Daily Life – Homestay

Meet U.S. Department of State sponsored Gilman Scholarship recipient Dustin Ellis. Dustin is serving as a Gilman Global Experience Correspondent during the academic year 2014-2015 studying in Barcelona, Spain. The Gilman Global Experience allows Gilman Scholarship recipients the opportunity to record videos around academic and cultural themes to share with other students interested in studying or interning abroad in the featured country. For more videos please visit the Gilman Scholarship’s Official YouTube page.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Dustin in Spain

Meet Teejay! – Pre-Departure to Malta

Hey guys! I guess I’ll start with introductions: TJ1My names Teejay Hughes and I’m from St. Louis, MO. The University of Missouri-Kansas City is the college I attend in America, but currently I’m studying abroad in a country named Malta—a tiny island smack dab in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea. You’re probably wondering why you’ve never heard of this country. It’s most likely because there are only 400,000 people that live on the island and declared independence from the UK less then 100 years ago; but don’t underestimate this little country! It’s packed with natural & cultural beauties, and they even have their own language called Maltese (and no it’s not barking).

For the 2014-2015 academic year, I was selected as a recipient of the Benjamin A. Gilman Scholarship, and thus far it’s been an experience of a lifetime. The official degree I’m pursuing in America is Business Administration with an emphasis in Marketing and Finance. I’ve always had a passion for anything international, and it’s one of the main reasons I’ve chose to study aboard. That’s why if you asked me what I study, I’d shorten my degree and tell you “International Finance and Marketing.” I like to think studying aboard for a year lets me play around with the degree name. For the next few months I’ll be making a series of video blogs and written prompts. I’m going to be telling you about my ups, downs, and everything in between!

Let’s start out with a simple question: Did you feel anxious before leaving for your program? If so, what were you nervous about?

Pre-departure anxieties would seem to be a massive thought, but oddly I was cool and collected until I arrived in Europe. The University of Malta didn’t start till October 1st, so I had plenty of time to pack and prepare myself for my upcoming year. My school year ended all the way back in May, so there has really been no rush at all. The most stressful aspect to me was getting my financials in order (figures, I’m a finance major). Dealing with credit cards, scholarships, and debt cards take day to weeks to months to get tasks completed, so I made sure I started early.

Besides finances, the only other forms of pre-departure stress was fitting one years worth of clothing into two luggages and two carry-ons. There’s something you have to know about me: I love clothes. My clothes are me. So trying to fit my entire being into four bags was very complicated… The process I used to packing lasted about one week. It goes as followed:

Step 1: Wash everything

Step 2: Sort clothes into season (Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer)

Step 3: Research which season will be in the country

Step 4: One-by-one go through each season making a Yes, No, and Maybe pile

Step 5: Pack up No pile, and repeat step 4 for other seasons

Step 6: Grab a friend and go through the Yes pile. (A friend that cares about clothes as much as you do)

Step 7: Together go through your maybe pile being very critical with each Yes and No.

Step 8: Try to pack all the Yes items.

Step 9: Understand you’re going to buy clothes there. So don’t cry when you have to take out the heaviest items.

Well guys, that’s the end of Blog post 1. I’ll leave you with some of the amazing views in Malta that I’ve captured.

Golden bay

Dingli cliffs

Comino

Blue window

Cheers, Teejay Hughes.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Teejay in Malta

Meet Gilman Video Blogger – Karly

Meet U.S. Department of State sponsored Gilman Scholarship recipient Karly Kahl-Placek. Karly was a Gilman Global Experience Correspondent for the Spring 2013 semester in Jaipur, India.  The Gilman Global Experience allows Gilman Scholarship recipients the opportunity to record videos around academic and cultural themes to share with other students interested in studying or interning abroad in the featured country. For more videos please visit the Gilman Scholarship’s Official YouTube page.

Leave a comment

Filed under Karly in India, Video Bloggers

It’s About the Journey, not the Destination

After so much uncertainty and anticipation — I am in Morocco. This semester, I will be studying in Al Akhawayn University, AUI, a school tucked away in the Middle Atlas Mountains of North Africa.

My journey began on January 14th at 5 a.m. in Miami, Florida. After 4 or 5 hours of sleep (I am a habitual late packer) I was both nervous and excited for what laid ahead. My mom came to check on me to make sure I was awake and kindly made me two sandwiches: one for breakfast and one for lunch for when I landed in New York. Without delay, we drove 40 minutes to Fort Lauderdale to catch my 8 a.m. flight to JFK Airport. I embarked on the plane and slept from take-off to landing.

(Travel tip: Whenever you are traveling to or from Miami, fly from Fort Lauderdale Airport. Not only are prices a lot cheaper, but the airport is usually on time, and if you are from South Florida, you know that is a blessing).

I had a 7 hour layover at JFK so I reread ‘The Alchemist’ by Paulo Coelho, one of my favorite books that coincidentally takes place in Tangier, Morocco. While I waited for the Moroccan booth to open, 104 Peace Corps volunteers showed up and were all in the same flight as me to Casablanca!

And so, our plane took off at 6 p.m.– a 7 hour flight across 5 time zones and one Atlantic ocean. As faith would have it, the two people sitting next to me were also headed to AUI. Thomas, a graduate student was returning for his second semester and Sasha was doing her first study abroad semester.

When we arrived at Casablanca at around 6 a.m. (1 a.m. Eastern Time) Sasha and I decided to stick together since we both had the same flight to Fes at 10:35 p.m. later that night. We bought a train ticket for 40 dirhams (around $5) to get closer to the center of Casablanca which conveniently departed from within the airport.  We planned on booking a hotel for the afternoon so that we could do some quick sight-seeing before heading back to the airport.

The train station at the airport.

Most people here speak Moroccan Darija, which is a combination of Arabic and French with some words in Berber, Spanish and English. Surprisingly I managed to communicate with our taxi driver– he spoke French and I spoke Spanish but I added ‘eh’ at the end of every word to make it sound a little more French.

Once at the hotel, we had a complementary breakfast of bread, yogurt, and my first delicious encounter with a staple of Moroccan cuisine — Moroccan Mint tea.  Up until this point, I can’t say I had experienced culture shock, but as Sasha and I waited for the elevator to head back to our room, I had my first experience of culture shock. Culture shock in the sense that my core, the foundation that I felt was stable enough to endure anything, was literally shaken and crumbled underneath my weight.

A dark, ghastly figured appeared from the corner of my eyes as she walked down the stairs behind her husband. She was completely covered in black cloth– not a square inch of skin exposed. I thought I was prepared– the streets, the crowd, the traffic, was nothing unlike what you would find in any major city in a developing country. But nothing in my life could have prepared me for that moment: the first time I saw a woman in a burqa. It was right then and there that it finally hit me — I am in Morocco.

We went back to our room with a newly discovered perspective and took a quick nap before going out to see the city. We grabbed lunch at a local café and headed to the Hassan II Mosque, the largest mosque in the country and the 7th largest in the world.

The Hassan II

photo(4)

photo(6)

photo(8)

    

We toured around the mosque, took our touristy pictures and head back to the hotel before sunset to make our way back to the airport for our final flight to Fes, the Spiritual Capital of Morocco.

The Mosque borders the Atlantic Ocean.

Back at the Casablanca Airport, we met with three other students that were also studying abroad at AUI: Paloma, Toz, and Ayla. With our newly formed crew, all five of us embarked on a 40 minute flight to Fes.  Once at Fes, we were greeted by two student ambassadors from AUI — Ijlal and Sofia, two incredibly friendly Moroccan girls that would soon enough become two of my best friends here.  However, the journey wasn’t over, not yet. We still had an hour car ride to get to Ifrane. We had to wait for the AUI van to pick up a sixth exchange student that had decided to take the train from Fes to Ifrane. After some fact checking, Ijlal realized that we were waiting for me! We all laughed it off and the van eventually came to pick us up.

As we arrived, the gates of AUI opened in front of us — around 1 a.m. GMT at this point — and I had absolutely no idea of what lay ahead. I looked out the window, a full moon illuminating the road, the stars, brighter than I ever seen them before, and I thought to myself: this is only the beginning.

Leave a comment

Filed under Kevin in Morocco

Writing Prompt #6: Culture Shock & Reverse Culture Shock

Below is a graph describing culture shock and reverse culture shock. Have you identified with any of these stages? Describe certain situations or stages of your study abroad experience and how they relate to the graph.

Diagram of Culture Shock

Diagram of Culture Shock

1 Comment

Filed under Writing Prompts

Writing Prompt #5: Conservation in the Region

Have you discovered or relished in the natural beauty of your host country?

How environmentally conscious are the inhabitants of your host country? Does the level of consciousness have an effect on the surrounding environment?

Are there any habits that promote a healthy environment in your study abroad country that you would like to take back to the United States?

Leave a comment

Filed under Writing Prompts

Writing Prompt # 4: Politics Abroad

Have you been following politics in your host country? What is the system/form of government practiced in your study abroad country? (i.e. democracy, parliamentary monarchy, republic).

How does the political system or environment differ from the U.S.?

Have the trending political opinions of local citizens caused you to reflect on policies and political discourse in the U.S.? If so, how?

What kinds of pressing policy debates are occurring in your host country, and do you have an opinion on them?

Describe the level of political or engagement of local undergraduate students you have encountered.

Leave a comment

Filed under Writing Prompts