Daniela Jimenez Valdez was awarded the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship to study abroad at Victoria University in Melbourne, Australia for the Spring 2020 semester.
Jimenez is a Television Production major and plans to graduate in the Fall of 2020. She says that she has always wanted to go to Australia and studying abroad was a way to do it.
“When I went to the study abroad fair last spring I found out about the exchange program with Victoria University, and I learned that an exchange program lets you study abroad while paying the same tuition as if you were staying at Montclair, so I thought of this as the opportunity that I needed,” said Jimenez.
Immersing herself into a different culture and lifestyle was one of the many factors that attracted Jimenez to studying abroad.
“The idea of expanding my social network meeting people that maybe I wouldn’t meet any other way and the opportunities for self-growth and development have always attracted me a lot about studying abroad,” she said.
Although she was able to afford tuition for studying abroad, Jimenez could not afford housing and other expenses. That alone would have prevented her from going to Australia. Now, with the scholarship she is able to afford any remaining expenses.
The Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program is a program of the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Students that receive a Federal Pell Grant and meet other eligibility requirements can be considered for the scholarship.
Every year thousands of students from the around the country apply, making the scholarship very competitive.
Jimenez encourages students to do as much research as they can if they wish to study abroad and apply for scholarships. She also says to take advantage of all the resources available through the Office of International Engagement and the University, to help with the application process
“If the idea of studying abroad is somewhere within your thoughts, that is for a reason. Find the way to make it happen, there are many resources on our campus and out there to help you make it a reality,” she said.
“We are thrilled about Daniela receiving this award. The Gilman scholarship is a wonderful way to help make study abroad more accessible to students who otherwise may think that it is not possible for them,” said Samantha Hellwege, Study Abroad Coordinator. “Our office works carefully with students to review their essays and application to help ensure they are submitting a strong application.”