Compose your essay first in a word processing program and cut and paste the text into the text box below. This will allow you to save your essay and ensure that your information is not lost due to a session timeout. Your essay should be composed in paragraph format (not as numbered responses to the questions below). The Statement of Purpose essay is a very important factor in the selection process. You should carefully review your essay and ask an advisor to proofread your essay for spelling, grammar, and content prior to submission.
Please address the following questions. Be specific in describing your individual reasons for studying abroad keeping in mind that this is a scholarship for academic study abroad.
1. Why do you wish to study abroad and what factors led you to this decision? What do you hope to gain from and what do you anticipate will be the impact of your experience abroad?
2. Describe your study abroad program. What factors led you to select this program and length of study?
3. Why have you chosen your country of study? What factors led you to select this country?
4. How will this study abroad program and the coursework you take abroad impact your academic, career, and future professional goals?
5. Are there any distinctive components to this program, beyond coursework, that will impact your overall learning experience abroad? (i.e. home-stays, internships, field research, volunteer activities, extra-curricular activities, etc.)
6. What challenges, if any, did you face in your decision to study abroad? How did you meet these challenges and what impact do you foresee them having on your experience abroad? These could include, but are not limited to, being a parent, being a non-traditional student, having a learning or physical disability, being in a field of study for which it is difficult to incorporate study abroad, etc.
Ever since childhood, I have been fascinated by travel and the experience of other cultures. I have traveled a fair amount in the past but I am very excited about my opportunity to travel to Costa Rica for a four week intensive study abroad program. This opportunity will be a different experience from my previous travels since it will be academically focused. I will be able to experience another culture while learning the Spanish language in a total immersion environment, which makes this study abroad program more valuable than just taking a regular college Spanish class. While in Costa Rica we will be taking Spanish classes as well as cooking and dance lessons. We will be learning about aspects of the culture that can only be learned by living there. I expect to come out of this experience with a greater understanding of another culture as well as a greater understanding of myself. There is no better way to learn about oneself than to be thrown into a completely different and foreign routine and climate. I also know that learning the Spanish language in such an intensive program will help me to become more fluent in the subject and help me in the future with employment opportunities.
This destination appealed to me for several reasons. I chose Costa Rica since the primary language is Spanish. Being a Southern California resident, the ability to speak and understand Spanish is imperative to attaining my future goals. My major is in Business Administration. If I am to be successful in this field, my knowledge of Spanish and its culture is a must so that I may attract a wide range of customers and/or clients. I also think that Costa Rica will be an amazing place to see and spend time. I have read that the pillars of Costa Rican society are rooted in family and education, just like in my family. Living with a host family, I will learn even more about their culture; for example, the food and family relationships. I also learned that Costa Rica abolished its military decades ago so I am curious to know how that affects people's attitudes towards conflict and their psyche in general. I have not gotten the chance to travel to this area of the world and am relishing in the thought of experiencing a new place and all it has to offer. I really learned about the wonders of Costa Rica through my step-brother. He is currently working as a fishing guide in Crocodile Bay on the Pacific Ocean side of Costa Rica, a more remote part of the country. He tells me that the ocean there is as blue as he's ever seen, and the tropical jungle is simply breathtaking. He has not had much time to spend away from the fishing lodge, but when he has had the opportunity to travel into the city, he has really loved it. He has told me the people are very genuine and kind. He is also a "foodie" like me and has told me how amazing the flavors of the dishes there are. Apparently pinto beans are incorporated into practically every dish, yet somehow there is an explosion of flavor. I can't wait to experience it for myself!
The program structure is the main reason for my decision to pick this particular study abroad program. I was intrigued that the program is a four week course. In this program we will spend four hours daily in Spanish Language instruction along with dance and cooking classes. It is just enough time to get a grasp of the language and culture, but not so long that I miss my husband and family terribly. I can give my undivided attention to my studies this way. I am also interested in the fact that I will live with a Costa Rican family. By staying with a family, I will continuously have the opportunity to practice my Spanish skills outside of the classroom, in addition to learning even more about the culture through the family's' daily lives.
The chance to study Spanish in this setting will guide me towards my goal of being a successful business owner in Southern California. This program will help me to learn not only the language, but the culture of the people as well and how it differs to our own culture in the United States. In order to be a successful business owner, you have to know how to attract and connect with all types of people. Knowing different languages and customs will contribute to my future success in the business world. I believe that the intensive Spanish education program will help me to become a better student as well as a more responsible professional. I have huge goals and ambitions to one day own a custom jewelry design company. I believe that studying in Costa Rica will bring me closer to that with all I will learn there, maybe even learning a new artistic style. Both my parents are retired entrepreneurs, and prior to starting their very successful careers, they both were able to travel to different parts of the world. They have repeatedly told me they learned so much that helped shape them into becoming more well-rounded individuals and ultimately making them better business people.
There are many different aspects to the study abroad program which I feel will greatly impact me on a personal level. One in particular aspect is the home-stay. It is hard to truly understand a culture unless you are fully immersed in it. I know that spending time with my host family will help me to practice the things that I am learning in my Spanish class as well as to learn more about their everyday lives. I also am very excited about the extracurricular activities such as the cooking and dance classes and especially the activities planned in Monteverde, such as a tour of a sugar and coffee plantation, frog pond, the forest canopy tour, and the Santa Elena Reserve. I will be able to do a lot of reflecting on my life and take in the amazing beauty. I feel that spending time away from my loved ones will allow me to appreciate them more. I hope by getting some time to myself, I will gain insight into my relationships and make them stronger upon my return.
The first challenge that I faced in my decision to study abroad involved my family. The part I was least looking forward to was convincing my husband and my mother that I should take the opportunity to go. It was not anywhere as difficult as I thought it would be because they know just as well as I do that this is an incredible opportunity that I cannot afford to pass up. The only difficulty I now face involves the financial aspects. My husband and I are still in the newlywed faze of our marriage and have had our fair share of financial struggles. I was laid off from my job last year and that's when I made the decision to go back to school. We now have only one income as I have not been able to find a position in a company that will work with me while I further my education. Therefore I will not be able to go on this study abroad program without some financial assistance. I know that it will be a difficult challenge to be away from my husband and family for four weeks but I believe that it will only make me work that much harder to succeed.
There are many reasons for which I would like the opportunity to study abroad, but the reason that has been my driving force is to improve the outcome of my personal, educational and professional future. This is an incredible opportunity that will only bring more to my life. This intensive study abroad program will not only help me learn an important language, but will also expose me to a culture which I am not familiar with. Being a short-term program only makes it more appealing to me given my personal circumstances. I have chosen to study in Costa Rica because I am intrigued by the country and its culture, which I can't wait to experience. This program will help me to become a more responsible person, student, and professional by exposing me to a culture that deeply respects and honors family and education, while being very different from the United States. And now all that remains is my financial challenge. Once I overcome that, nothing can stop me from expanding my mind and my future.
Thank you for this wonderful opportunity. I look forward to possibly being one of the lucky recipients of the great honor of being awarded a Gilman scholarship.I have to cut this down to 7,000 characters including spaces and I only have about 45 min to do so.