I write this post from an elated state! Just hours ago I received word that I am a Benjamin A. Gilman Scholarship Recipient for the Academic Year 2014/2015!
You can tell in the video that I am a bit overwhelmed and excited. After receiving an email telling me that I didn’t receive the Bridging Scholarship, I didn’t think there was any way I would be receiving the competitive Gilman International Scholarship. I had anticipated the end of May for so long, waiting for confirmation emails, and experienced so many doubts about my essay that I had steeled myself for failure. I was visiting with my sister when I checked my phone and saw an email from the Gilman Scholarship committee! I read the first line, saw “Congratulations” and just stood up and screamed with excitement! I did it! I couldn’t believe I had received it! All the months of writing and rewriting my essay, reading it to my husband, preparing all the documentation and uploading it, was all worth it.
I would not be able to get a meal plan, or live in a dorm in Tokyo if not for this scholarship. So I’d like to say thank you to the committee that chose me, to my Individualized Major committee, to the Study Away offices and advisors, to all the Financial Advisors that helped me figure out how I could afford this, and to my friends and family. Thank you! Without all this support I couldn’t study for 9 months in Japan. It’s because of all the strength I draw from this group of people that I am confident in my decision to go.
Whew! Now that I’ve got that announcement out of the way, what else is happening? I have sent my visa packet off that I mentioned in my previous post, and am awaiting a visa decision. Piece of advice? Get all your paperwork in line and get this done early! For a year in Japan I needed to allow three months for a decision. I won’t find out until nearly August if my visa request was approved! Tanaka-san, the Japanese corespondent for KCP International, is so helpful in answering all of your questions. He makes me feel confident in sending my documentation to him. You scan and email documents for him to review before you send them off.
On the Japanese language front, I finished the book Genki I! I have been reviewing the grammar points before I begin preparing to study Kanji. I believe the day after you arrive in Japan, you will take a placement test so that they can place you in the correct level of Japanese. I want to place as high as possible to get the most out of my time in Japan. I also plan on starting Genki II to learn some new grammar points.
I have a small checklist of things to do now, and it just keeps growing smaller. Before I know it, my summer will be over and I’ll be in Tokyo! It’s crazy to think that I’ve been planning this trip for nearly a year now, even before I applied for my university. Now I’m a Junior, almost a Senior, and time just keeps flying by.
If you have any inquiries about the Gilman Scholarship, keep in mind I cannot discuss my essay with you, KCP International, or Study Abroad, feel free to comment or send me a question! I will do my best to answer them in a timely manner.
Thanks for reading, and happy studying!!