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The Gilman Scholarship Helped My Daughter Study Abroad

Written by: Courtney’s mom, Nicola Hurst

When Courtney first told me that she wanted to study abroad, I thought to myself no way. But, the more she began to explain how studying abroad would help her in her educational career it didn’t sound too bad. Furthermore, Courtney was able to find resources on campus that were willing to help her find financial resources to cover the study abroad program fees.

Courtney told me about the Gilman scholarship and how she was going to apply and how competitive the scholarship was to receive. I told her to go for it and try to win the scholarship. A few weeks or maybe months had passed by and she was beginning to get discouraged about being able to afford the study abroad trip. Courtney even withdrew her application until she got a call from the KIIS office letting her know that she had won the Gilman and asking why she was canceling her application. As a parent, who could not necessarily afford for study abroad program, the Gilman was a blessing for my daughter.

As Courtney prepared to leave the country, she learned a lot during that process. She met friends at the KIIS orientation and started to learn more about the country of Costa Rica where she would be in for 4 to 5 weeks. The KIIS study abroad program was one of the best things that could’ve happened to my daughter. She comes from the inner city of Louisville and has not seen much of the world and this trip allowed her to grow educationally and personally. Educationally this trip helped Courtney see that there are different ways to learn especially outside of the classroom and challenged her to try and take different courses that she would have never have taken before. She met lifelong friends and mentors on the KIIS program to Costa Rica.

If I could tell any other parent one thing their child should do in college, it would be to study abroad. Her credits also helped her graduate on time.

Picture Quote from Courtney: I hiked a trail along the Volcano Arenal. This is an active volcano in Costa Rica but has not had a major eruption since 1968. 

About the Gilman Scholarship

The Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship is a grant program that provides students who have limited financial means the chance to study or intern abroad. To apply for the Gilman, you must be currently receiving the Federal Pell Grant. For other eligibility requirements, visit the Gilman Scholarship website. To learn about additional study abroad scholarships, visit the KIIS Scholarship page.


Courtney Hurst

KIIS Costa Rica
Special & Elementary Education
Western Kentucky University

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