The reason Korea is known as the land of the morning calm is that near the turn of the twentieth century, China’s Ming dynasty’s emperor gave the title “morning freshness” to the little peninsula to its east. It was well suited because of its spellbinding natural beauty of the picturesque high mountains and clear waters and splendid tranquility.

Seoul today has modernized into a mega metropolis with high apartment structures and office buildings as far as the eye can see and commercial success that drives its inhabitants forward into the daily grind, everyone trying to eke out a living in this hyper competitive atmosphere. But among all this still remains a peaceful calm that you awake to every morning.

In this post, I would like to talk about the Benjamin A. Gilman scholarship. As a recipient of this scholarship, I feel it is my duty to tell other students about this scholarship and its opportunities. This semester, there were nine recipients from SDSU. The scholarship is available to students who would like to study abroad and have financial constraints. If you receive grants provided by financial aid, you qualify to apply for this scholarship. The process for applying is a little bit involved, but they take you through the process step by step in a well-organized and informed manner. This scholarship is brought to you by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the Department of State. It awards up to $4,000 to students, $8,000 for study abroad in qualifying countries, and it helps to offset the financial burden of studying abroad.

As a Gilman scholar, you are reminded that you are acting as an ambassador to the US. There are no further commitments to you as a recipient except for that it is your responsibility to represent the United States in the best way possible. My impression of what a Gilman scholar is: to help bridge any gaps of misunderstanding that foreigners may have of our country and to build positive relationships so that people come to view Americans as trustworthy and exemplary citizens; global citizens. We are also here to increase awareness of the global community becoming closer as one, but each and every one of us has their own unique and interesting facets distinctive of their own countries.

The Benjamin A. Gilman scholarship is a great opportunity financially and otherwise. It helps to develop a personal identity while you are abroad and it rewards you for the hard work you put in to your grades while in college. Please look into it if you are considering studying abroad and you receive financial aid.

I began this journey the fourth week of February and nine weeks have past. I have seven weeks remaining. I just finished midterms and was able to take a trip to Seoul this weekend for some fun and excitement. Seoul was moving at a blazing speed with its nightlife and commuter bustle, but things have slowed again now that I have returned to Wonju. In the next seven weeks, I am looking forward to my Mutual Mentoring Sessions with my native student partners and beginning the second project with my international and native student team members. Our first project was a video introduction of our team members. You can watch the result below:

Our second project will focus on similarities and differences of each other’s countries. This will be great fun because it will give me an opportunity to discuss all the positives of American life.

In summary, I am still feeling rather grateful for this opportunity of being able to study abroad, and not just because I am here in Korea. I concur with all the other bloggers in the sense that studying abroad, though challenging, is a rewarding experience because it takes you out of your element, your comfort zone if you will, and makes you adapt to unfamiliar situations, which in turn has a huge influence on your personality and outlook on life.

Traveling abroad is fun, but studying abroad is something else. And most people only have four years of college to do it. So take your life by the reins and just go do it without question. There’s nothing to lose (except for your luggage maybe, so be careful) and everything to gain. I’m understanding why SDSU has distinguished itself as such a great study abroad university and in this age of globalization it’s almost essential in order to learn how great America is and our influence in the world. Visit the study abroad office today. There’s no regretting it.

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