study abroad adventure

Photojournaling and blogging study abroad adventures…

ASU Scholarship Feature Article on Me!

I was recently honored with a request by ASU to interview for a feature story.  I know that all scholarship recipients are interviewed but I just never thought I would ever be one of them.  You should know that as part of the Gilman scholarship follow up project I have begun this blog and opened a Twitter and Facebook account to chronicle my journey which will be converted into a website after the trip is complete.  I hope this will serve as a tribute to the combined efforts of both universities here and abroad, inspire positive tourism and economic growth to an underrepresented region of Europe, as well as serve as a guide to future students interested in studying abroad in any program.   With that said, let’s go over a few things you should do if you are even curious about studying abroad…

For those of you interested in studying abroad you should take four very important steps:

Step 1:

Contact your study abroad office.  They have so much information available to you as well as a library you can browse to start getting to know the country you will be studying in.  They have both online and in person orientations to help you decide and plan for your study abroad.

Step 2:

Second, you should contact your financial aid and scholarship office, especially if you are an online student because you may be off their radar.  It seems to be that online students have a harder time getting letters of recommendation from their professors.  Often, once you put in your application, personal statement and letters of recommendation, they will review it for errors and keep it on file to automatically apply for any other scholarships that you qualify for.  They are working hard for you to make sure your scholarships applications stand out so take polite advantage of it and thank them always.

Step 3:

Make an effort to reach out to your professors and let them know you are applying for a scholarship(s).  Ask if you can count on them for such a letter.  As a reminder, if you are an online student you will be one in a hundred with no face to a name so you must work extra hard so your name really stands out.  It might be best to take multiple classes with the same instructor in order for them to recall your work.  These letters must be spectacular and cite specific work you completed in class. A relationship is a two way street but you have to work harder to be remembered among the rest. I once took three classes with a PhD Professor who constantly complimented my work, encouraged me to enter the field of classical literature, and used several of my essay and projects in her curriculum for future students.  I waited almost a year to ask for the letter and she just couldn’t recall who I was.  They are busy and there are other students impressing them so don’t wait long after the course if over to ask for this letter.

It would also be in your best interest to target faculty that share interests with you.  For example, talk to your Spanish language professor about a letter of recommendation if you are applying for a study abroad in Spain. Finally, don’t be afraid to mention your interest in the study abroad at the beginning of the class. You may find that it can spark an the professor’s interest in you and you can leave a positive impression that they will recall when they are asked for the letter of recommendation.

Step 4:

Don’t stress about the costs.  You may qualify for financial aid to help pay for the costs and many schools give scholarships from the study abroad office.  Next, look online for other scholarships. Check out the Gilman Scholarship page to become familiar with their procedures and take note of their deadlines.

http://www.iie.org/Programs/Gilman-Scholarship-Program

Don’t be afraid to search for more scholarships, either.  I found several that were not on the list provided by my University’s website.  Finally, get creative with fundraising.  We will go into this a lot more just a little later on…   If you have been abroad and know of a great program or scholarship that aided you please share!

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