Gilman Alumni Ambassador Lea Gober reflects on her experience sharing her study abroad journey with students and the international education community.
The Gilman Scholarship opened my mind, my connections, and my career prospects to an international spectrum of possibilities. Since my return from studying abroad in London during the 2009-2010 academic school year, I have made it a personal mission to promote the importance of international education. This especially rings true in promoting the importance of international education within low income and communities of color.
This 2016-2017 academic school year, I had the opportunity to participate in the Gilman Alumni Ambassador program. Through this program I was able to provide my testimony on the impact a global education can have on your career, self development, and contribution to society. I spoke at a study abroad seminar held at Barnard College, and at a Gilman advisor workshop held at the Institute of International Education New York office.
The Gilman advisor workshop was my most memorable experience. I spoke directly with approximately 40 faculty and staff members from universities around the country. My presentation focused on how Gilman affected my life and the critical value of helping low income and students of color pursue study abroad experiences. This exchange helped the attendees feel empowered to better assist these student demographics.
I really appreciated their earnest interest in solving how more students could participate in study abroad. Collectively we knew cost was a significant barrier for many first generation college students. I spoke with one attendee, a law professor who was doubling as the International Education Advisor at a small college in Brooklyn. At this institution many of the students are first generation college students who, like myself, faced financial insecurity. Remembering my own apprehensions with funding my program, I could certainly relate to the concerns of the students. I provided my first hand account on how I funded my study abroad, which included additional scholarships outside of receiving Gilman. Seeing someone like me who resembles their students showed advisors the possibility of making global education a reality for their scholars.
I fully recommend participating in the Gilman Alumni Ambassador program. Not only was I able to get the word out about Gilman and network with other international education enthusiasts, I had the opportunity to develop my public speaking skills. This is a great opportunity for anyone- from students newly returning from abroad to a veteran like myself who studied abroad 7 years ago. Apply and let your voice be heard!
Gilman Alumni Ambassador applications are now open! Apply here by July 24.