Dreams abroad become reality

  Students at UVM have the opportunity to immerse themselves in new and unique cultures by studying abroad, but sometimes money can be a factor that keeps many in town.   Five students were awarded the Benjamin A. Gilman scholarship to help aid their study abroad experience this semester.   For over a decade, the Gilman scholarship has been a way for students to achieve their dreams of temporarily pursuing their education in other areas of the world, according to the Gilman scholarship website.   “The Gilman is a nationally competitive award given to accomplished students with financial need who wish to study abroad,” a University Communications article stated. “UVM students received a total of $20,500 in study abroad scholarship money from the Gilman awards.”    Kim Howard, director of the Office of International Education, praised the importance of scholarships because she said that some students need financial support to make study abroad possible.   “Study abroad scholarships are very important both from the perspective of affordability and from the perspective of giving students the opportunity to see future careers in something they may not have considered before,” Howard said.   Howard said there are not many scholarships of a sizeable amount, and that although government aid does go with students in their travels, it doesn’t cover everything.   “Students always need to put forth money in the process,” she said.   With nearly 37 percent of undergraduates studying abroad in nearly 80 countries each year, Howard said that some scholarships, such as the Boren scholarship, encourage students to consider pursuing study in a language that is deemed to be a critical need, Howard said.   This is because there is a need for students with expertise in a language not often studied in school, she said.   The recipients for the spring 2012 semester are sophomore Anders Christiansen studying economics in Brazil, senior Alexandria Frechette studying sociology and political science in Gabone, Botswana, junior Ariel Henley studying English and political science in the United Kingdom, senior Lisa Sayoko Kubotera studying animal science in Namibia, and senior Storm Leland studying social work in Belize.   Henley spoke of her gratitude for the Gilman Scholarship because without it, she said it would not have been financially feasible to study abroad.   “These are tough times financially for a lot of families,” she said. “I think it’s fantastic that there are groups like Gilman that are willing to recognize the importance of travel and studying abroad.”   Henley was also appreciative of the experiences she is having in England.   “My time in Canterbury has meshed vibrant college life with experiencing the history of England, which has been really fun to experience,” she said.   The Gilman scholarships are offered each semester to students.  The deadline to apply to study abroad this fall is March 1, 2012.