Honors Students away from campus for study abroad, co-ops, or internships are encouraged to write about their experiences to share them with the Honors community. In the post below, senior animal science major Jessica Kuyawa ’18 describes her summer experience in Scotland which was funded by a Gilman Scholarship.
– By Jessica Kuyawa
During the early part of the summer I was lucky enough to go on a 4 week study abroad program to Scotland to work with horses. During my program I took 2 equine classes, Equine Anatomy & Physiology and Equine Fitness, as well as rode horses at the college the program was hosted at multiple times a week. Plus, outside of the coursework, they also had planned excursions they took us on to show us how incredible Scotland is. During my time there I made many Scottish friends that I have kept in contact with since the end of the program. The Gilman Scholarship helped me fund my study abroad program and thus enhanced my experience.
I found this program simply by doing a Google search for ‘equine study abroad programs in Europe’ and came upon “Adelante Equine Summer Study Abroad in Scotland.” I chose those search terms because the criteria I had for a study abroad program I would want to go on had to be working with horses and in Europe. As I am a pre-vet student, plan on working with horses in my career, and have 3 horses of my own, I wanted a program that enabled me to work directly with them. I also have an admiration and fascination with Europe, especially the United Kingdom. So, when I found this program I knew it was the perfect fit. I bring this up in order to explain to students that, just because the university may not have a program that suits their interests, does not mean there is not a program out there that would suit their interests. With a little researching it is possible to find a program that best suits one’s interests and/or career goals, just like mine did for me.
We stayed on Scotland’s Rural College campus in Broxburn, where the classes and horse riding was held. We each had our own rooms, which I greatly enjoyed. The entirety of Scotland is beautiful, there were places to hike all around, even at the college. One law Scotland has is the “Right to Roam Law” which allows people to roam and hike anywhere, whether it be private or public property, so long as they leave things as they found it. During the riding part of the program we learned some basic dressage and jumping skills. While I had ridden English for some time prior to the program, I had never had any formal instruction so they helped me work on bettering my riding seat and form. Some of the excursions we went on were to Loch Lomond, Stirling Castle, Edinburgh Castle, 2 horse yards near the Scottish Boarders, the Kelpies, the Perth Races, and the Linlithgow Marches. They also had 2 weekends during the program where we were able to go and do as we wished. During one of the weekends and friend and I went to explore Edinburgh, and on the other weekend I went to Glendevon to ride Exmoor Ponies. During my last weekend of the program I also went to ride Clydesdales on a beach in Ayr.
I very much enjoyed my time in Scotland and wished it to never end. It has made me want to go to veterinary school at the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies at the University of Edinburgh. With a degree from there I would be able to practice in both the U.K. and the U.S. It is a dream of mine to eventually move to the U.K., which is my favorite part of the world. Going on this study abroad and being able to have these experiences has made that dream even stronger.
The Gilman Scholarship application is fairly simple and straightforward and can be found on their website (https://www.gilmanscholarship.org/). There are 2 application periods, an early application and a regular application period for the summer application. If the program is in the summer an applicant is able to apply to both periods if they do not get accepted in the early summer application period. To be eligible to apply for the Gilman Scholarship, a student must be a citizen of the U.S., be receiving the Federal Pell Grant, be applying to a study abroad or internship program that is at least 3 weeks long and eligible for credit at the home institution, and not be travelling to a country that is on the travel warning list. Based on the length of study and the application, a student is eligible to receive up to $5,000 if awarded the scholarship.
As an honors student at Texas A&M University, many believe it is near impossible to embark on a study abroad while being an honors student and having a rigorous course load. I want to address the falseness of this assumption. It is easily doable for any student, honors or otherwise, to go on a study abroad, especially during the summer. There are study abroad programs that are a mere week or 2 weeks. Many students will also say it is too expensive to study abroad, but this is also untrue as there are many grants and scholarships available to enable students to study abroad and gain valuable experience. I recommend any and every student to go on a study abroad during their college career. It is a life changing experience that I certainly do not regret. I am very grateful to have been able to go to Scotland for 4 weeks doing something I love and enjoy, as well as meeting new people and making new friends.
In closing I implore anyone who is thinking about going on a study abroad to do it. It is also possible to get credit to transfer back to the home institution for any classes taken abroad. There is funding available for study abroad programs, including the Gilman Scholarship. I would like to thank the Gilman Program for helping make my study abroad experience possible.
For more information about applying to nationally-competitive scholarships and fellowships, visit http://tx.ag/NatlFellows.
To find exciting opportunities for study abroad, visit http://studyabroad.tamu.edu.