Studying abroad in Dubrovnik, Croatia was easily the most rewarding part of my academic career. As a first generation, low-income college student, I never imagined that I would be able to live abroad for four months. This was made possible with the help of the Benjamin A. Gilman Scholarship.
Personally, I have gained courage and independence. Without the experience of studying abroad, I would not have the courage to pick up my life and move across the country to Washington State after living my entire life in New York. This is allowing me to take advantage of a job opportunity that I would not have considered without the courage that I gained from studying abroad. This shows that studying abroad also helps my professional life. I have enhanced my communication and problem solving skills from my time in Croatia.
As a Hospitality and Tourism Management student, I was able to observe and live amidst a heavily seasonal international tourist destination. I learned more about service, tourism, and hospitality in Dubrovnik than I ever did in any of my many lectures on it. Dubrovnik is a highly seasonal destination that attracts mainly cruise and film tourists. This results in businesses and citizens of Dubrovnik working extremely long hours during the “high-season” and most businesses closing during the off season. I was able to observe times when tourism is not a good thing, something that I never would have previously thought possible.
My time abroad has inspired me to go abroad again. I traveled to Dubai and Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates to learn about the hospitality and service offered in that part of the world. I plan on pursuing my Masters degree at an abroad institution in the coming years.
I know that cost was a major factor in my decision to study abroad, but with the help of the Gilman Scholarship, I was able to make studying abroad a reality. No college student should be denied the opportunity to study abroad because of cost.