Benjamin A. Gilman Scholarship Program

Check out this video by PVAB student Sarah Bussard
New Zealand 2018 – Small-1elu7j2

Like many UD students, I opted to spend my Winter 2018 semester studying abroad on one of the numerous programs offered by the University. The New Zealand Study Abroad Program allowed students of all majors to study animal science, plant science, food science, sustainable agricultural practices, and current issues faced by rural farmers. While abroad, students resided in dormitories and took classes in the academic buildings at Lincoln University. Aside from classes, students embarked on 3-4 educational field trips a week to explore the South Island of New Zealand, one of the world’s most agriculturally varied and proficient countries. With agriculture being a main component of New Zealand’s exported goods and economy, it was the perfect setting for this educational excursion. These trips provided students with hands-on learning experiences that reinforce the course material studied in the classroom, helping to make more well-rounded students overall and furthering the ability to make connections both in and out of the classroom.

This journey offered courses and adventures that I believed significantly enriched my experiences as a student of Pre-Veterinary Medicine and Animal Biosciences. The courses in Sustainable Farm Management and Topics in International Farm Management were specifically beneficial to my major because they give me a unique perspective on how animals are used, viewed, and cared for in different areas of the world. Farming and animal agriculture are businesses that rely heavily on utilizing animals in a way that is efficient and cost-effective. Veterinarians play a major role in animal agriculture by working with farmers to keep livestock healthy by monitoring structural soundness/lameness, reproduction, nutrition, vaccinations, biosecurity, and animal welfare. Being able to observe how these components of animal care are managed across the world provided me with experiences that are invaluable, should I one-day work as a large animal veterinarian.

Like most undergraduate students, the financial burden of higher education is always a concern of mine. Thankfully, I was able to participate on this incredible educational journey due to the immense generosity of the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program. The Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program provides students of limited financial means with the extraordinary opportunity to study abroad and expand their horizons as a student. Many students are denied the chance to study abroad due to financial constraints, and most are unaware of the resources and scholarship opportunities available to help finance these educational journeys. Given all of the incredible opportunities I was afforded through this scholarship, I aspire to share my experience to inform students at the University of Delaware of the Gilman Scholarship to help make their academic aspirations a reality.

I do not believe that a student should ever have to turn down an educational experience due to lack of funds, especially not experiences so enriching and life-changing as studying abroad. In my perspective, an education is the best investment one could ever make. Thankfully, organizations such as the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program recognize this as well, and are willing to aid students on their journey to achieve an education, no matter where it may lead them.

If any student interested in studying abroad, I would encourage them to start by researching study abroad programs available to them. It is incredibly important to participate in a program that best suits them if they are to make the most out of their journey. Some important criteria to consider when choosing a study abroad program includes:

  • Be aware of cultural differences and language barriers of your destination.
  • Carefully consider the living accommodations available in that country (drinkable water, toilets, WiFi, etc) as well as where you will be staying during the trip (dorm, host family, etc).
  • Is the duration of the trip compatible with your academic schedule?
  • Are the courses you will be taking abroad of interest to you or beneficial to your desired career path?
  • What activities are there available for you to participate in during your free time?
  • Are you comfortable with the climate in your area of study and are you educated on that area’s natural threats?
  • Be aware of the program cost and the conversion rates between US currency and the country of study.

In regards to the final consideration listed above, I highly recommend every student considering studying abroad to apply to the Benjamin A. Gilman Scholarship Program. The application consists of supplying personal information, as well as two essays. The first essay is a Statement of Purpose, highlighting information about your chosen study abroad program, explaining your personal desire for studying abroad, and how the trip will benefit you.  The second essay is a proposal for a Follow-On Service Project, which is expected of every student who receives the Gilman Scholarship. The Follow-On Service Project is an assignment to be completed upon return the the US that promotes the Gilman Scholarship and helps other students to learn more about this incredible opportunity. To be eligible to receive the Benjamin A. Gilman Scholarship, students must:

  • Be a United States citizen
  • Be an undergraduate student at an accredited institution of higher learning in the US who is in good academic standing
  • Be receiving a Federal Pell Grant or proof that they will be receiving a Federal Pell Grant at the time of the study abroad program
  • Be in the process of applying or accepted to a study abroad program that offers academic credit at the student’s home institution
  • Be participating in a program that does not take place in a country under official Travel Warning by the US Department of State

For more information about the Benjamin A. Gilman Scholarship Program and applying, please feel free to contact me at sbussard@udel.edu or seek additional information and apply at https://www.iie.org/Programs/Gilman-Scholarship-Program.

To check out all of the study abroad programs offered by the University of Delaware and find applications, please visit http://www1.udel.edu/global/studyabroad/information/programs.html

Comments are closed.