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Meet the Gallitos Who Studied Abroad Thanks to the Gilman Scholarship

The Gilman Program offers up to $8,000 to undergraduate students who want to study or intern abroad.


When Lianne Semidey applied for the Gilman Scholarship, she wasn’t expecting to win. But she did, and it made a huge impact on her study abroad experience.

“To be honest, I spent a year working [to save for the study abroad trip], but I didn't manage to reach my savings goal. Either way, I was going to study abroad, but [without the scholarship]I would've been pinching pennies,” said Lianne, who attended the Universidade do Porto in Portugal last semester.

With the help of the Gilman Scholarship and her savings, Lianne managed to afford transportation, food, and many other needs. “Getting the scholarship was a relief. it felt like a reaffirmation that I have to do it [study abroad] and that I could do it”, said the foreign language student.

To win the scholarship, Lianne had to write two essays: a Statement of purpose (a text where students introduce themselves and their academic goals towards studying abroad) and a Follow-on-Service proposal. Through the Follow-on-Service students create a plan to spread the word about the Gilman Scholarship and its benefits for undergraduate students.

“I wrote about how hurricane María affected my academic plans and the plans of many UPR students. Some of them lost their semester and their internships abroad due to economic reasons. I wanted them to know about opportunities like the Gilman Scholarship, I wanted them to stick with their ideas of going abroad to meet the world, and its different cultures”, said the student who will be giving info sections through art therapy to spread the word about the Gilman Program.   

Lianne wants students to be themselves while applying for the scholarship. She wants them to portrait how special they are. “Let authenticity shine through, it will take you places.”



Studying Abroad, Twice  

Jomar Canales had already studied abroad when he applied for the Gilman Scholarship. He'd already gone to Brazil in 2016, but it didn’t stop him from applying to the Gilman Scholarship.

“I’m very curious. When I went back to Puerto Rico from Brazil I knew I wanted to study abroad again. I chose Granada (Spain) because it has deep culture and history, and it is the birthplace of one of my favorite poets Federico García Lorca”, said Jomar, who is a Hispanic Studies major.

Winning the scholarship was an achievement for Jomar and a relief. “If it wasn’t for the scholarship, I would have had to stay at home” confessed the student who also saves some money and received help from his family to study abroad. It meant a lot for Jomar. “Being in contact with such rich culture strengthened mi creativity”, said Jomar, who is also a photographer and a writer.


“Studying in Granada seriously made me consider continuing a higher education degree in Europe”, told the student, encouraging others to apply for the Gilman Program. “Go for it, apply for scholarships. You might not know if you are going to win it, but you can’t drop yourself out”, said Jomar.


It’s a Unique Experience!

Jean Santos is an Architecture Major. He was was craving to have an academic experience outside his home university when he won the Gilman Scholarship, but it was more than academic success.

“Personally, it helped me to develop the ability to interact with different cultures and different points of view. It also helped me to find my way in a completely distant place”, said Jean, who like many other students, was able to afford to study abroad thanks to the Gilman Scholarship.

While studying abroad in Madrid, Jean took a class on Parametric Design. This course was unique to the University he attended in Madrid. It wasn't offered at the UPR! In that class, he learned the basics to create unconventional designs in architecture. Jean would use that knowledge in his Master degree thesis next year.

“It is a unique experience… I'm grateful to the Gilman Scholarship for seeing the potential in me, and for making this incomparable professional, and growth experience a reality”, Jean said. he strongly encourages UPR students to apply to the Gilman Scholarship.

According to UPR Dean of International Affairs, Dr. Luis Irizarry Ramírez scholarships like the Gilman Program are important in the student’s life. “It gives you security because you will have that extra money to manage yourself while studying abroad,” said Irizarry, adding that those who study abroad are the most curious one.

“Those who study abroad are the most daring, and bold ones, they always want to do something different”, said the Dr. Luis Irizarry Ramírez, highly encouraging the students to apply for the Gilman Scholarship. “Winning the Gilman Scholarship recognizes you as a valuable student. It lets you know that you're doing a good job as a student and that you deserve ti study abroad”.


If you want to know more about the Gilman Program go to orientation next Friday, September 27, 2019, at 1:00 pm in the office of International Affairs, or visit the Gilman Scholarship Webpage for more information.

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