By: Katie Linton
“As the saying goes, ‘to boldly go where you haven’t been before.’” Says Ulli Schraml, the associate director and study abroad coordinator of international programs.
Whatcom Community College offers several scholarships to help make study abroad programs more accessible to all students.
The two scholarships that Whatcom offers are the Gilman Scholarship and the Anna Rosemary Harris Memorial Scholarship.
Schraml said “the one I recommend is the Gilman Scholarship.”
The Gilman Scholarship is a federal scholarship offered through the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program, named after a former New York congressman who specialized in foreign policy. Gilman believed in the importance of studying abroad and wished to help provide more students with the opportunity to do so, according to the program’s website.
With the Gilman Scholarship a student can receive up to $5,000. It’s a competitive program with several requirements. Students applying need to be receiving financial aid and must be U.S. citizens. Each year hundreds of awards are given through the Gilman Scholarship Program.
Gilman Scholarship applications for summer and fall 2016 programs are due Mar. 1, 2016.
The Anna Rosemary Harris Memorial Scholarship is a private scholarship that was set up to honor the memory of Anna Harris who attended Whatcom for two years as a Running Start student. She was killed in an accident while traveling in Taiwan in 2013. It’s a private scholarship that offers $1,500 for Whatcom students wanting to participate in study abroad programs.
On the Whatcom website main page under the “International Programs” tab you can find more information on those two scholarships, as well as the applications.
Currently the Gilman and the Harris Memorial are the only two listed directly on the website; however Schraml will be adding several more in the future.
“There are two brand new $1,000 scholarships through the International Program here at Whatcom”. Said Schraml
It’s actually two scholarships per quarter: two $1,000 scholarships for fall quarter and spring quarter programs, and two $500 scholarships for summer quarter programs.
“The money comes from the revenue of international short-term programs, mainly the Dutch program.” Schraml said.
The pre-requisite is that you must be currently enrolled in the study abroad program of choice.
“You come in and turn in your study abroad application and I hand you the scholarship application.” said Schraml.
Brandon Burbank, a 19-year-old student at Whatcom was awarded one of the International Program’s new un-named $1,000 scholarships for his fall quarter 2015 trip to Barcelona/Spain, and two other students have been awarded $1,000 scholarships for their spring 2016 trip.
Burbank said “talk to Ulli, he’ll give you tips and guidelines. Ulli will be your guide for the local scholarships.”
Schraml’s advice for getting scholarships is “start early, the earlier the better [and] make sure you have a really good letter.”
Whatcom offers “scholarship workshops” once a year. Students are invited to come to the Heiner Auditorium to learn about scholarship opportunities and get tips for most successfully filling out your application and writing your letter for any scholarships, not just study abroad scholarships.
As Schraml said “there’s so many opportunities; if you start early and are persistent you’re almost guaranteed to get something.”
Study abroad programs are great opportunities for students; both Schraml and Burbank agreed that they give you priceless experiences and an outside look on the culture you’ll eventually come back to.
Burbank said “it will help students understand different ways of living, different cultures, and you get to know yourself on a more personal level.”
“The actual experience is more important than the money; studying abroad for me, has given me a better understanding of cultures that exist in the world. Traveling has given me a better understanding of our own society that we live in.” Burbank said.
The study abroad programs that Whatcom offers are excellent opportunities and with all the resources available these programs are made more affordable.