Mechanical engineering major realizes life long dream to study abroad in Spain
In the summer of 2023, junior Mechanical Engineering Major and Spanish Minor Joanna Crain embarked on a transformative journey, realizing a long-standing dream of studying abroad in Spain. Despite the challenges posed by her rigorous engineering major, Joanna's passion for languages, particularly Spanish, led her to pursue a minor in the subject. The decision to undertake this linguistic adventure was not an easy one, given the demands of her academic program, but the allure of immersing herself in a new culture and honing her language skills proved irresistible.
The financial hurdles of international travel loomed large for Joanna. Determined to turn her dream into reality, she sought financial support through various scholarships. One such opportunity was the Benjamin A. Gilman scholarship, a prospect that initially made Joanna feel somewhat underqualified due to her short summer term abroad and her minor status in the language.
Encouraged by a friend, Joanna decided to take the leap and apply for the Gilman scholarship. To her delight, she emerged victorious, securing a $3500 reward that would significantly ease the financial strain of her journey. This not only enabled her to set foot in Spain but also provided the much-needed flexibility to make the most of her overseas experience.
As a requirement of the Gilman scholarship, Joanna engaged in a service project that fostered connections between individuals from Spain and the U.S. involved in a youth STEM program. This initiative facilitated collaboration and cultural exchange, enhancing Joanna's experience beyond the academic realm.
Reflecting on her experience, Joanna encourages fellow students interested in language studies abroad to explore the opportunities offered by the Gilman scholarship. She emphasizes that, despite feeling initially unqualified, unexpected doors of opportunity may swing open, just as they did for her. For those aspiring to embark on a similar adventure, Joanna recommends exploring the various Gilman scholarships available here. The story of Joanna's summer abroad serves as a testament to the transformative power of pursuing one's dreams and seizing the financial support available to make those dreams a reality.