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Awardee Spotlight

Yumi Kim
Fellow Country:
Japan and Germany
Fellowship:
Gilman Scholarship
Area of Study:
New Media Interactive Design

The Gilman International Scholarship is an amazing opportunity for students who wouldn’t normally be able to afford to study abroad to travel. Although I had applied to a couple of programs last summer, I didn’t really have the means to go abroad, so the Gilman Scholarship was very important to me. It was easier than expected to apply for the scholarship – just a couple essays about why I want to go abroad and a follow-up service project. I would definitely advise anyone who is interested in going abroad to connect with the staff at the Study Abroad office and apply to as many scholarships as possible. Studying abroad is a once in a life time opportunity that shouldn’t be missed. 

 

History Estill-Varner
Fellow Country:
Costa Rica
Fellowship:
Gilman Scholarship
Area of Study:
ASL-English Interpretation/ International Studies

Studying abroad had been a goal of mine since high school and as a student who is paying for college myself, I had to find an affordable way to fund my study abroad experience.  My adviser recommended this scholarship to me and after looking into it, I thought that it was a great match. As part of the scholarship you are required to complete a follow up project. My proposed project was to present about study abroad in several inner city high schools in my home town. Not only did the scholarship give me the funds to fulfill my dream to study abroad, but I was able to encourage other students to study abroad as well. When applying for the Gilman scholarship, there is no interview process so it is important that in your essays you show who the essence of who you are. Make it personal, tell them what makes you, YOU.I don't know if I can pick out one specific part of my experience that was the best. I overall had an amazing time, and as cliche as it sounds, my experience in Costa Rica changed my life. It made me think of the world differently and I have begun to think on a global scale. As a result of my time abroad I even added a second major in International Studies and I hope to one day work internationally. 

Michael McLeod
Fellow Country:
Japan
Fellowship:
Fund for Education Abroad
Area of Study:
Computer Engineering Technology

I applied to Fund for Education Abroad because the program I intended to take part in did not offer enough credits for me to be full-time status and receive my normal financial aid. The Fund for Education Abroad’s mission is to increase the number of opportunities for American students to study abroad by reducing the financial burden through grants and scholarships. In particular, I was interested that their priorities include students who demonstrate financial need, and represent a group that is traditionally underrepresented in study abroad. Underrepresented groups include, but are not limited to, racial minorities, minorities in field of study such as anything STEM related, and students who identify as a part of the LGBTQI community. In fact, the scholarship I received from FEA was the Rainbow Scholarship, which is awarded to a LGBTQI student who intends to participate in a study abroad program. I would advise students who intend to apply for a fellowship to identify what the application requires of them, how they can get that information, and be aware of the due date(s). The best part of my study abroad experience would have to be seeing with my own eyes the amount of culture and historic sites actively preserved over the centuries. Knowing that the majority of historic buildings are made from almost wood alone is so fascinating.

Anna Bower
Fellow Country:
Netherlands
Fellowship:
Alternate Fulbright Student 2013-2014
Area of Study:
Sustainability Science and Policy

I applied to the Sustainability Science and Policy master's program at Maastricht University in the Netherlands. It is a one year master's program in which I will "learn to identify, analyze and address sustainability problems from an integrated perspective." Here is a link to more information about the program: http://goo.gl/7x7B9

Applying for the Fulbright was A LOT of work, especially since I didn't actually decide that I was going to go through with it until the beginning of the summer. I worked on it literally all summer and into the beginning of fall. It really adds to your work load at the beginning of the year as you finalize your application. And because I was applying to do a master's program and not a research project I had to get my graduate school application in ridiculously early so that I had their decision on whether or not to admit me into the program before the Fulbright application was due in the fall. My advice to other students applying for the Fulbright is to start their application at the beginning of the summer at the latest and do something related to their Fulbright application every single night, whether it is just sending an email or working on the next draft of their essays. Also, very good time management is key, especially when fall starts and you have to focus most on finishing your application on top of beginning classes. Lastly, Jenny is not exaggerating when she says that you have 7-10 drafts of your essays before they are finalized. She is a GREAT help with editing your essays and she will rip them apart, but everything she has to say is constructive and will only make your essay better.

Basma Eid
Fellow Country:
Jordan
Fellowship:
Alternate Fulbright Student 2013-201

I applied for an ETA in Jordan. It was a last minute decision and I only had had a couple of months to prepare my application so it was a little crazy but definitely doable. I spent a lot of time perfecting my personal statement and statement of purpose and fortunately had a lot of help and support from Jenny and the Fulbright committee at RIT. As far as advice for applying for fellowships like Fulbright, it's always worth a shot! Even if it doesn't work out it’s a good experience in going through that type of application process.

Christina Beck
Fellow Country:
France
Fellowship:
Gilman Scholarship (CIEE)
Area of Study:
French Language and Culture

I received the Gilman Scholarship to study abroad in Paris with CIEE. Finding outside funding was of great importance to me when applying to study abroad. I met with the Study Abroad & Fellowships office and they showed me some options of scholarships to apply for. One of the options was the Gilman Scholarship. The deadline for the scholarship was only a week after I found out about it. At first I was not sure if I should apply because I was not sure I would receive the scholarship, but I decided to apply anyway. I had to write two essays, one explaining why I needed an outside scholarship and the other explaining an idea for a service project I would complete about my study abroad experience. I met with the Study Abroad & Fellowships office to have them help to review my essays. After that, I sent the application in and hoped for the best!

The study abroad office was very helpful in telling me what types of scholarships are available, so I would recommend meeting with them as well as researching on your own. It is important to really read about the scholarship you are applying for so you know what they are looking for. It may seem like a lot of work at the time, but it is worth it in the end! During classes I wasn’t sure I wanted to put the effort in to apply for multiple scholarships. But I am really glad that I decided to do the work, because I really benefited from it.

Lindsay Kuzara
Fellow Country:
Ghana
Fellowship:
Business, Development & Social Entrepreneurship
Area of Study:
CIEE

Applying for the scholarship was as easy as one click and a short essay. I am participating in a program through CIEE and the scholarship was included in the application process. (It was obviously optional but I thought I'd give it a try and what do you know!) It stated the different scholarships that you could apply for through CIEE, so I selected the ones which I qualified for and submitted an essay online.

Before applying [I would advice to…] have an idea of what you are trying to accomplish while going abroad so you can include that in the essays, people like to know your intentions of going abroad and it'll make you stand out from the other applicants. Also, don't hesitate in applying, there's nothing to lose. It's definitely worth a shot!

Kate Macken
Fellow Country:
U.S. Foreign Service
Fellowship:
Thomas R. Pickering Graduate Foreign Affairs Fellowship

Students can apply for the undergraduate fellowship during their junior year. I applied for that last year, but I did not receive it. I applied for the Graduate Fellowship this year, and I got it! So, my advice for applicants is to never give up! Keep applying! It is also extremely important to have experience living abroad or working with an international organization... this is where the study abroad office can come in! In addition, applicants should know why they want to be a Foreign Service and how they can make a difference.

Christin Boggs
Fellow Country:
Finland
Fellowship:
Fulbright Student 2013-2014
Area of Study:
Photography

Through the U.S. Student Fulbright Award, I will dedicate my time in Finland to building a photographic project that documents both traditional wild food foraging and recently developed urban food practices. The resulting project will encourage community development, provide my host country with a valuable historic record and increase international awareness of positive Finnish gastronomic culture.

All the information and support provided by RIT Study Abroad prepared me for the application process. I knew exactly what to expect and the timeline was very manageable. Through the application process, I gained insights not only about my host country, but also about my own artistic practice.

My biggest suggestion to those interested in applying to the Fulbright is to give yourself plenty of time. Wait until you know exactly where you want to go and exactly what you want to do before jumping straight into the application process. While I knew in 2011 that I wanted to pursue a Fulbright fellowship, I waited until the next round of applications in 2012, so that I could spend extra time researching countries and host institutions that would be a strong fit for me and my proposed project. As soon as I made those decisions, I began to outline my project plan and establish a host institution. The extra time also meant that I continued to gain experience in my field.