The Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship is a great source of funding for UC Merced study abroad students and many of our students are ideal applicants. The deadline for summer 2016, fall 2016, and the 2016-17 academic year is March 1, 9:59 PM California time.
Like any statement of purpose for study abroad, a central focus should be on your academic motives. Questions #1-5 address many aspects of your program that focus on academics. As international education professionals, we who evaluate statements of purpose need to see some intentionality in how you chose your study abroad program and how it fits with your academic and career goals. You should know about your program's academic offerings; opportunities for internships, research, or volunteering; what kind of housing is available; and whether you will work on a foreign language. Consider some examples:
- How did you choose your program? How did you choose your country? If you chose a Western European country, Australia, or New Zealand, do you have a compelling academic reason? Australia can be great for science students, Britain for engineers, Denmark for psychology students. Don't be afraid to talk about the coursework or the academic prestige of a host university.
- Does your program offer an internship? What will this internship mean for your career plans? Is it a research internship? Will it be a business internship? Working with an NGO or humanitarian organization?
- Do you have academic reasons for going for a semester rather than a year? Or for going for a summer rather than a semester? Do you need to return to complete specific courses in engineering?
- How does a foreign language impact your career goals and personal marketability? Will a home-stay enhance your skills and cultural understanding?