Study Abroad Info SessionOn Tuesday, September 22, the SMCCCD Study Abroad office hosted a Study Abroad Scholarship Info Session in conjunction with Skyline College’s Financial Aid office. While the spring 2016 semester-long programs to Florence and London are among the most cost-effective as compared to similar programs at 4-year universities, many community college students are in need of aid and funding sources that can help them cover their travel and program expenses. The Study Abroad Scholarship Info Session was held to give students an overview of the scholarships available to them, namely the federally-funded Gilman travel abroad grant up to $5,000 for individual student awards, SMCCCD Foundation scholarships grant up to $6,000 to be spread amongst recipients, and American Institute of Foreign Study (AIFS) scholarship which grants up to $2,000 to be spread amongst recipients. To qualify for the Gilman award, the student must be an American citizen and eligible for a Pell Grant. The SMCCD Foundation and AIFS scholarships are open to all students who meet the qualifications to study abroad.

The event was advertised to students across the District. The number of students who attended exceeded our expectations. In fact, 35 students were expected to attend, but 50 came instead – 30 from Skyline College, 5 from Canada College, and 15 from the College of San Mateo. Because of this increase, the room had to be changed to accommodate the larger audience. The students received a special treat in hearing words of advice from presenter Tina Luong, a former Skyline College student who traveled to Hong Kong on the Gilman Scholarship. She detailed her experiences traveling abroad as a 2-year college student and offered advice to students on how to be competitive applicants to win the Gilman award, namely starting early and revising the personal statement many times before submission.

For more information about the Gilman Scholarship, please visit:

Applicants can inquire about the SMCCCD Foundation Scholarships by emailing

To apply for AIFS Study Abroad programs and receive more information about the AIFS Scholarship, please visit the AIFS website.

The Study Abroad office would like to extend a special thanks to Linda Bertolotti for her support and help in securing a larger room in such a short span of time. Thank you, Linda!

Article by Alina Din | Photo Credit Alessandra Zanassi