My name is Michelle Bedke and I graduated from University of Maryland, College Park in December 2014. My major was Chinese, and as a language major it is almost unheard of not to at least travel to a foreign country. For the majority of my undergraduate career, I simply did not have the time or means to study abroad; I hadn’t lived with my parents since I was 17, and as such, I was completely independent. I was a commuter, and on top of a full course load I worked full-time.
As time went on, things got much easier, and I found myself with the time to study abroad, but still not the means. When it was time to look for a program, I visited UMD’s study abroad website, looking for the money to pay for my trip. In addition to being awarded a scholarship from our scholarship office, I received a study abroad stipend from our Intelligence Center for Academic Excellence chapter, and the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship.
If you have always wanted to study abroad and think that you do not have the means, I implore you to visit your study abroad office, and speak to everyone you can. While the Gilman Scholarship was by far the most competitive, I was actually awarded with it twice (the first time, I really could not spare a semester away from home). Applying may seem a bit daunting, but we have some fabulous faculty members who can be with you every step of the way. Take a look, ask around, and you will be on your way in no time!