Students get study abroad opportunities during COVID-19


Gabrielle Garcia sits are her desk in her dorm room and creates music Feb. 1. Garcia is a Gilman recipient looking to further her musical theatre studies in South Korea this fall. Photo credit: Madeline Taliancich

Domonique Tolliver

While many students’ dreams of studying abroad have been crushed this year, the Gilman scholarship is helping two Loyola students achieve that goal.

The Gilman scholarship is intended to promote diversity in study abroad, according to Wyatt Boykin, study abroad advisor with Loyola’s Center for International Education.

Boykin said that diversity can mean diversity of the applicant, diversity of the academic subject studied, or diversity of the destination. The primary eligibility criteria to apply for the Gilman scholarship is that students receive a Federal Pell Grant, which is a financial need based undergraduate scholarship. Additionally, eligible students must complete an application process, consisting of three essays.

Zoe Stambaugh, graphic design junior, applied for the scholarship in September and was awarded the scholarship in the beginning of the year.

Stambaugh said she is hoping to study abroad in the summer because it is her last chance to do so. Unfortunately, COVID has limited the locations she can choose from, Stambaugh said. She cannot go to study abroad unless her country of choice has low COVID case numbers.

Gabrielle Garcia, musical theatre major, also received the award. She said she has been planning to study abroad at Ewha Womans University in Seoul, South Korea since last year, but her application was deferred twice due to the pandemic and travel restrictions.

“I think with the pandemic my experience will be different and more limited, but I feel that I will still have a fulfilling time abroad,” Garcia said. “There is still so much to see, do and learn in Seoul.”

Garcia said she is planning to finally study abroad in Seoul this summer.

According to Boykin, studying abroad during the pandemic is based on extra caution and planning.

“The CIE’s first and foremost concern is our students’ health, safety, and well-being,” Boykin said.

Boykin said one requirement is that there must be available COVID testing services in the host country.

Garcia said studying abroad will help her get closer to her goal of learning about global entertainment.

“In the future, I would like to find myself working in a production or entertainment company in the creative and marketing departments, so I am excited to start that journey and foundation building abroad,” Garcia said.

Stambaugh said studying abroad will equip her with experience she needs to achieve her personal goal of living abroad.

“The Gilman scholarship allows for more students to have the abroad experience,” Stambaugh said. “Studying abroad can change your goals after college by introducing you to new things that you would have never known about otherwise.”

Garcia said the Gilman scholarship helps open doors that are otherwise inaccessible for students such as herself.

“The Gilman scholarship, for me, is an opportunity to encourage students to study and engage with the world around them,” Garcia said. “I know without it, my dreams of studying abroad would have been really hard to achieve financially. It is heartbreaking as a student to have to walk away from studying abroad due to financial constraints.”

Boykin said the cost associated with studying abroad is a concern for Loyola students and students will often dismiss study abroad due to the cost.

“Scholarships like the Gilman lower the barriers to participation and increase representation in the field of study abroad, which the Center for International Education loves,” Boykin said.

Boykin said that these scholarships allow students the chance to grow as leaders, innovators, and strong individuals out of students who may not always be given the opportunity to do so themselves.

“This scholarship means so much to me and is helping me grow myself, my community, and my future career,” Garcia said.

The CIE offers info sessions about the Gilman Scholarship early each semester and are always available to answer questions at [email protected] The next Gilman application cycle opened late January 2021 and closes Tuesday, March 2, 2021, Boykin told the Maroon.

Boykin shared that another scholarship, the Gilman-McCain scholarship, is for any undergraduate who is both the dependent of an active duty military serviceperson and receiving any type of Title IV Federal financial aid.