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Gilman scholar returns from Czech Republic

February 21, 2013

Fall 2012 CSU Study Abroad student and Gilman scholar writes about what his study abroad means to him now that he has returned to CSU.

Mark Twain wrote, “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” It was this thought that led me to the make the decision to study abroad, and I did just that last semester; I studied forestry at Mendel University in Brno, Czech Republic.

I have been back in Fort Collins for just over a month, and I am only just beginning to process what the experience meant to me and how I have changed because of it; obviously some of that will take years to truly figure out. But I do already know that I will be better off personally and professionally.

When I got back home, a friend asked me if I brought any souvenirs back with me. Though I knew he meant did I buy anything --which I did, though only a few small things-- I immediately thought of the sunrise in Budapest, Hungary that I watched with a group of international students I met at my host school on one weekend trip. It was one of those absolutely perfect, once-in-a-lifetime kind of moments, and if that was the only thing I had brought back, or gained from studying abroad, it would have been worth it. But I got so much more than that from my experience.

Besides the memories, I made friendships with people from all over the world; I learned material specific to my degree, but from a perspective I couldn't see here at home; I traveled to places I had only seen in movies; but most importantly, I brought back a broader outlook. And in an increasingly globalized world, this is the “ultimate souvenir.”

Travel author Rick Steves wrote, “In this Global Age, the world's problems are our problems... Lessons learned from our travels can better equip us to address and help resolve the challenges facing our world. We travelers are both America's ambassadors to the world...and the world's ambassadors to America.” As a Gilman International Scholar, I was able to represent my department, my school, my state, and my country all at once, while also gaining a perspective that will help me, not only in my future studies, but in my career, and personal life beyond school.

Judah Melton

About Judah Melton

Judah Melton is a senior majoring in forestry at CSU. He studied at Mendel University in Brno, Czech Republic this past fall semester and was a recipient of the Gilman International Scholarship, which is funded through the U.S. State Department. He also was a recipient of the CSU OIP Undergraduate Study Abroad Scholarship.

About the Gilman International Scholarship

The Gilman Scholarship Program offers awards for undergraduate study abroad and was established by the International Academic Opportunity Act of 2000. This scholarship provides awards for U.S. undergraduate students who are receiving federal Pell Grant funding at a two-year or four-year college or university to participate in study abroad programs worldwide. The program aims to diversify the kinds of students who study abroad and the countries and regions where they go by supporting undergraduates who might otherwise not participate due to financial constraints.

Gilman workshops at CSU

CSU Faculty and Staff will be available at two upcoming Gilman Workshops sponsored by CSU Study Abroad to help students prepare their application for this competitive scholarship. They will help brainstorm, refine essays and answer questions. The event will be held at 4:15 p.m. Feb. 26 in LSC 208. Check the calendar events for more information or contact Julia Helminiak in the Office of International Programs at 491-3817.

Contact: Julia Helminiak
Phone: (970) 491-3817