Study Abroad

Olivia Sciandra

Olivia Sciandra additional blog photoOlivia Sciandra
Costa Rica, Summer 2019

“I did not get discouraged.”

When I started at USF back in fall of 2017, I knew that studying abroad was something I wanted to do while in college. I had never been out of the country before, and I am fascinated with other cultures, as well as different ecosystems across the globe. When I studied in Costa Rica this year, it was a dream come true. It was something I didn’t think I could afford as a student who relies on scholarships and grants throughout the year. My parents could not afford to help me study abroad either. I made it a goal to not let my financial struggles hold me back. I researched scholarships, how to budget for a study abroad, and several other tips. I discovered ONS and the Gilman Scholarship. I applied my freshman year for the Gilman Scholarship and got it. I was so excited to get the Gilman Scholarship, but unfortunately, I had to decline. The reason I had to decline was because the program I selected was still too expensive since the Gilman Scholarship was the only aid I received, and it would not be enough. However, I did not get discouraged during my second year as I researched a more affordable study abroad that was a month long instead of two. I re-applied for the Gilman Scholarship last fall, and luckily, I was a recipient again.

Olivia Sciandra additional image


I also applied for the Global Citizens Project Scholarship at USF, as this was a program I started in my freshman year. I was a lucky recipient of their scholarship as well. With these two scholarships and Bright Futures, I was able to afford my study abroad. I know how difficult it is coming from a low-income family and not having enough money to pay for a study abroad program that may be $3,000-5,000. However, there are resources to help give you this life changing experience. My advice for you is to talk with the Office of National Scholarships, Education Abroad, and the Global Citizens Project. These and other departments on campus offer scholarships to those who have financial need, but desire to study abroad. My other piece of advice is to be realistic about what program you can afford, even with aid. Some programs are very costly and are just not feasible. Following this advice and having a bit of determination, you will be making your dreams a reality in no time.

Tags: Re-application, Finances, Program Fit, Global Citizen’s Project