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Marist scholarship winner influences students to study abroad

By Brittany Oxley
On September 5, 2012

At Marist College it is very common to hear students and teachers alike exclaim how great the study abroad program is, and how each student should strive for the opportunity to leave to go study abroad in a different country at least once.
    For many college students studying abroad is an adventure to look forward to. By studying abroad, students have the freedom to go to any country they desire for up to a whole school year.
   While being abroad, students get the chance to not only read about different cultures, but to be completely immersed in them day in and day out. It is a whole different experience that a student cannot get simply by reading about it.
   Because of this, studying abroad sounds like a dream come true.    However, like many things, it also comes with a price. Not surprisingly, studying abroad in the country of your dreams can be extremely expensive as well as extremely amazing.
   Luckily, Marist College commuter student, Ayla Janukajtis, found a way to study abroad at a lower expense.
   This was possible for Janukajtis, when she was awarded a scholarship that helped her follow her dream to study abroad in Costa Rica. This scholarship is called the Gilman International Scholarship, and is awarded to any United States’ undergraduate student who has been applying to or has already been accepted to a study abroad program. The goal of this scholarship is to help students have the opportunity to study abroad, regardless of any financial conflicts students may face.
    Janukajtis was awarded this scholarship because of her background, country of choice, financial need and two required written essays she had written that proved how badly she wished to study abroad in Costa Rica.
   After receiving the international scholarship, Janukajtis was given the opportunity to work with private and public organizations in Costa Rica. There, she gained an experience that was sure to stay with her for the rest of her life.
   Because of her desire to help other students have the same opportunity that she did, Janukajtis is now working to help promote the Gilman International Scholarship to other hopeful students who wish to study abroad, but may not think that it is possible due to their financial situation.
   As a commuter student who also works 25-30 hours a week, Janukajtis explains her initial doubts about being able to study abroad at all.
   She says, “I never thought that I would have the ability to study abroad, which is why I started the application so late. But with help from friends, family and of course Pat, as well as my strong desire to experience another culture, I was able to have the most amazing trip of my life.”
   In order to promote the scholarship to other students, so that other students can live their dreams, Janukajtis has written and documented her experiences through Facebook and her personal blog.   She also holds coffee hours in the library’s open areas on Mondays and Wednesdays to help assist students with any questions they may have on pursuing their own dreams of studying abroad.
   Janukajtis states, “The Gilman Scholarship is very competitive but with the right help and multiple drafts of your papers, it is completely obtainable.”


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