SMU senior shares study abroad scholarship tips

10 SMU students learned about the Gilman Scholarship and other study abroad tips in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center on Feb. 18.

SMU senior Chelsey Kilburn shared her wisdom with other students so that they can have a similarly positive experience.

“I do want everybody else to be able to study abroad because it’s an amazing opportunity,” Kilburn said.

Kilburn studied abroad for eight weeks in China last May. She said that it was one of the best experiences of her life, thanks to the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program.

The Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program is an international grant program. The program awards students unable to afford studying or interning abroad up to $5 thousand.

During the presentation, Kilburn suggested that interested students meet with available campus resources.

One of those faculty members was in attendance.

Dr. Adam Neal, a postdoctoral fellow in SMU’s Office of National Fellowships and Awards, recommended that students visit the office to brainstorm ideas for the application’s essay portion. There are certain aspects of the application process that students should anticipate.

“They’re really trying to encourage a more diverse student population,” Neal said. “One person is a musician so she’s going to sing a couple Italian songs and then write about it.”

He said that he hopes for a large pool of applicants this year.

Every SMU student that applied for the Gilman Program during the last application cycle was given an award. A Pell Grant is required with each application.

Pell Grants are given to students in financial need to assist them in paying for college.

Students found Kilburn’s presentation informative and helpful.

SMU sophomore Vanessa Larez plans to go to London this summer with SMU’s Communications Department. She said that Kilburn’s insight was invaluable and has helped her discover financial funding for her trip.

“I had a general idea at first, and now I know more and I learned that they don’t reduce other scholarships that you might have gotten already,” Larez explained.

Kilburn advised students interested in applying for the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program to visit Dr. Neal or Professor Ball-Phillips in the Office of National Fellowships and Awards.

Students planning to study abroad in either Summer or Fall 2019 must apply by March 5. The Spring 2020 application deadline is in October.