Tomorrow (1/22) from 3:00 – 4:00 in PUB 9202, learn how to get paid to see the world, or to learn about life as an English teacher in China. (Also, see the world’s most poorly planned sign, made almost entirely of printer paper and scotch tape, located in the main area of the PUB. Comments welcome.)
The most frequent question I get about studying abroad is: Can I find a burger with bacon and mashed potatoes on it in [name of desired study abroad destination]?
I bet that wasn’t what you expected. Probably because I just made it up. Actually, the question you most likely guessed would come up most is the one I get asked almost every time I talk to a student about studying abroad: How am I going to pay for it?
Generally, the answer involves financial aid, scholarships, student loans—there are many ways to pay for study abroad, every single one of them absolutely worth it. But some people just can’t make it happen. Does the conversation end there?
For those who want to get out and see the world, there are options. Shoreline is one of a group of schools that works with Seattle Central College to offer the Teach in China program. Working with an education group based in Yangshuo, China (an amazingly beautiful place—a friend of mine planned to just pass through there, but ended up staying for almost a month), students spend a semester teaching English in a Chinese school. They are provided fully furnished apartments and paid a monthly salary of 4,500 RMB (which as of today is $724.11) for teaching 15 hours per week (probably working about 20-25 hours per week, including prep time).
This is plenty of money to live on in most parts of China. Especially since you don’t have to pay rent. You can read more about the program here, and of course contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions. I spent seven years teaching English in China, and I strongly encourage others to try it out.
The Gilman Scholarship Program appears to have announced a pretty significant policy shift in just about the most unremarkable way possible. In double-checking some information about the scholarship for a student who is interested in study abroad this summer, I stumbled across this entry in the FAQ:
Q. What is the minimum length of study required to be eligible to apply for the Gilman Scholarship? Are short-term programs eligible?
A. Eligible programs must be a minimum of four weeks (28 days) – or two weeks (14 days) for current community college students – in one country and can be as long as one academic year. Short-term programs are eligible as long as they fall within the eligible start dates for each cycle and are at least four weeks (28 days) in length.
That bit about the minimum length being 14 days for community college students? That’s new. When this change was made is unclear. There’s nothing about the change in the News & Social Media section of the Gilman website. I think I know why the change was made, though.
The Gilman Scholarship aims to make study abroad possible for students who, without some financial assistance, wouldn’t be able to afford the experience. They target groups that traditionally haven’t studied abroad in the past, including community college students. However, money is often just one of many obstacles that stand in the way of a study abroad opportunity for community college students. Jobs, apartments, children: these all make it difficult to drop everything and live overseas for long periods of time. Even the previous minimum required length, four weeks, is too long for many.
So it would seem that the people behind the Gilman Scholarship have realized this, and taken action to make it possible for community college students who can’t get away for a whole month to get the financial support they need to make their study abroad dreams a reality.