Laura Carr ’22 Awarded Gilman Scholarship

Elizabethtown College is excited to announce that Spanish Education major, Laura Carr ’22 is the fifteenth study abroad student to be awarded the prestigious Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship in the award’s 19 year history. She plans on studying abroad in Granada, Spain for the 2020-21 academic year.* In addition to her coursework, Laura also hopes to complete an education internship while abroad.

“The opportunity I have to study abroad is a new adventure for me. This will be the first time I am out of the United States and it will be the first time I have ever traveled,” Laura said in her Gilman Statement of Purpose Essay.

“As I hope to be a future educator, this is a fascinating opportunity to have the chance to work first-hand in a foreign school. I will be able to observe what teaching techniques Spanish educators use in their classroom and how the students react to those styles. I anticipate working alongside local students that will teach me an abundance of information as I also plan on assisting them on attaining their own personal goals for that course. I believe everyone, but especially children have a lot of knowledge to instill in me throughout this time. I am also working toward an ESL certification so this will give valuable experiences of what an ESL teacher would do every day,” Laura said in her application.

“Overall, this experience will remarkably improve my Spanish language skills in all aspects including speaking, writing, listening, and reading. One of my biggest goals for the next year is that I will be confident in speaking in Spanish since I currently struggle with that. Other goals I have are that I will make friends with the local Spaniards and improve my own self-esteem by being successful living in a foreign country by myself until I make friends. The amount of excitement I have for the upcoming year is indescribable. I believe I will grow and change enormously over the year to become my true self,” Laura stated at the conclusion of her Statement of Purpose Essay.

The Gilman Scholarship

The Gilman Scholarship Program reviewed over 7,000 applicants for the March 2020 Deadline, and more than 2,500 outstanding students were offered awards to participate in credit-bearing study and intern abroad programs.

The U.S. Department of State’s Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program enables students of limited financial means (i.e. Federal Pell Grant recipients) to study or intern abroad, providing them with skills critical to our national security and economic prosperity. The Institute of International Education has administered the program since its inception in 2001. You can learn more about the program here.

Laura is only the second Etown-Gilman recipient to study abroad in Spain. Elizabethtown College’s Gilman recipients have studied abroad in 10 different countries: The Gambia, Germany, Greece, Iceland, India, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Spain and the United Kingdom.

Applying for the Gilman Scholarship

Students interested in applying for the Gilman Scholarship should reach out to the Study Abroad Office for assistance in building a strong application. Along with this guidance, students should review the Gilman Scholarships’ resources and ensure they allow adequate time to write and revise essays before the deadlines. The essay prompts are online, so you can begin drafting your essays before Gilman accepts applications for your term of interest.

Please note, the Gilman Scholarship recently revised their application deadlines, so students now have two opportunities to apply. If students are awarded the scholarship in the first application cycle, they know their scholarship winnings months prior to departure and can determine if they can afford to study abroad. If not selected for the award, students have a second opportunity to apply!

All students who apply for the Gilman Scholarship will automatically have their Etown study abroad fee waived (value of $250). Students must be eligible for the Gilman to receive the waiver. They do not need to be selected for the award to receive the waiver.

Laura’s accomplishment was also highlighted in an E-town NOW article. Congratulations again, Laura!

*Article Updates – May 2021

Laura was originally planning on studying abroad in Granada, Spain for the entire 2020-21 academic. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic canceled her program. Fortunately, the Gilman Scholarship allowed awardees to transfer their scholarship to a future term in 2021 and allowed students to use the funding for an in-person or virtual, international education experience. As of August 2020, Laura changed her major from Spanish Education to Early Childhood Education with a minor in Spanish and ESL. After several changes to her plans due to the ongoing pandemic, Laura plans to use her Gilman Scholarship to complete a summer 2021 virtual, education internship in Heredia, Costa Rica with Arcos Learning Abroad. Apart from her scholarship, Laura intends to participate in Arcos’s in-person Heredia, Costa Rica program, prior to her virtual internship, in the summer of 2021.

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