On Thursday, September 7, 2023, the SMCCCD Study Abroad Program hosted a Gilman Scholarship Info Session through Zoom with an impressive turnout of nearly 100 RSVPs. The Gilman International Scholarship is a grant program through the U.S. Department of State that enables students of limited financial means to study or intern abroad with in-person international programs. Qualified students can apply and win up to $5,000 to fund their study abroad program no matter how long the program is.

Acting Director for Special International Programs, Dr. Alice Yang and Program Services Coordinator, Kelly Li, went through the benefits of Study Abroad, shared the detailed information about the Gilman Scholarship, gave an overview of fundraising strategies, and emphasized how beneficial it is for those planning to study abroad.

We were also fortunate to have invited Philip G., a non-traditional student and adult learner, to join us again to discuss his scholarship application and study abroad experiences. He won the Gilman Scholarship twice with the help and support of the Study Abroad Office and attended a study abroad program in Barcelona, Spain, in the past summer.

SMCCCD Study Abroad works closely with the Financial Aid Offices on the three college campuses to offer students scholarships and financial aid advising. David Vera, Financial Aid Director from Cañada College, offered updates on financial resources for study abroad. Aidan Takeuchi, a CSM student and one of the Study Abroad Ambassadors hired recently by SMCCCD Study Abroad, passionately spoke about how he got his job through studying abroad and gave financial tips to the applicants based on his study abroad experience.

With the deadline to apply landing on October 5 at 11:59 pm PST, we highly encourage eligible students to get started by creating an account at the Gilman Program website and seeking help. The qualified SMCCCD study abroad programs for this application cycle include Spring 2024 Florence, Fall 2024 London, 2024 faculty-led summer programs (Intercultural Communications in Asia, Art in Barcelona), 2024 Global Internships in summer, and 2024-25 Transfer Abroad Program in France. About 100 SMCCCD students won the Gilman Scholarship in the past years, and the acceptance rate (50%) is much higher than the average acceptance rate (25%). The Gilman Program emphasizes diversity and equity, and community college students are more likely to win the scholarship.

SMCCCD Study Abroad and Skyline College’s Learning Center will host two writing workshops on how to write the Gilman application essays (Via Zoom on 9/14 and 9/21 from 4-5 PM). Students can also make Appointments Online for study abroad programs and scholarship counseling.

SMCCCD Study Abroad is the district-wide study abroad program housed in the Global Learning Programs and Services Division at Skyline College. For more information about studying or interning abroad, faculty lead abroad opportunities, community travel for lifelong learners, visiting international faculty presenters and student scholarship opportunities, please get in touch with Kelly Li or Dr. Alice Yang at studyabroad@smccd.edu or by calling 650-738-7098. You can also learn more by visiting the SMCCD Study Abroad Facebook or Instagram page @smcccd_study_abroad. Article by Aidan Takeuchi and Kelly Li.

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