Moore School student Stella Strength recently earned the Gilman Scholarship Program study abroad scholarship and looks forward to immersing herself in the Spanish culture of Cadiz, Spain, this summer while studying abroad.
From Signal Mountain, Tennessee, Strength is a sophomore Honors College student at UofSC majoring in international business and economics. Strength is also a UPS Global Scholar.
At the beginning of her freshman year, Strength said she knew that she wanted to study abroad. After visiting the Office of National Fellowships and Scholar Programs, she realized she could go abroad thanks to the Gilman Scholarship.
“I was introduced to this opportunity through the incredible Office of National Fellowships and Scholar Programs here at UofSC and from former Gilman scholars that advocated for the program,” Strength said. “As someone who hopes to learn and grow from as many international experiences as I can, I hoped that the Gilman scholarship would make achieving these global goals possible.”
Also a Pell Grant needs-based recipient, Strength said the Gilman Scholarship differs from other scholarships in that it allows her to experience opportunities outside of the classroom that she may not have had the chance to do before.
“The Pell Grant is a fantastic financial aid resource that relieves some of the financial burden I face as a student, and I am incredibly grateful for its support,” she said. “While the Pell Grant helps me attend UofSC and live on campus, the Gilman scholarship will ensure that financial need does not exclude me from engaging in other beyond-the-classroom experiences like studying abroad. The question now is not, ‘what experience can I afford?’ but rather ‘what experience do I want, and how can I earn it?’ I am so excited and thankful for this opportunity, and I highly recommend the Gilman scholarship Program to any Pell Grant recipient.”
Since obtaining the scholarship, Strength has been planning her first trip abroad to Spain. This summer, she will travel through the UofSC language department program to further develop her Spanish-speaking skills.
“I plan to use my Gilman scholarship to study abroad this summer in Cadiz, Spain, through a program housed in the UofSC language department,” she said. “This program will allow me to further develop my Spanish skills by engaging with local traditions and living with a host family. I wanted to select a location that would force me to really use my Spanish, and in the relatively brief time I am there, allow me to know the city and its people well.”
Through this experience, Strength said she hopes to develop her global mindset by learning as much as she can from the people she meets abroad.
“Part of the Gilman scholarship is to act as a citizen diplomat, so I hope to discover how life for a college student in Columbia, South Carolina, is both similar and different from the experiences of students in Cadiz, Spain,” she said.
Strength said she looks forward to meeting new people and learning more about the Spanish culture this summer. If the opportunity is canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, she will plan to participate in a virtual, internationally related experience like taking a summer Spanish course to strengthen her language skills instead.
As her summer excursion to Spain is quickly approaching, Strength she is grateful for this opportunity and for everything that she has learned so far at the Moore School.
“Be it through my amazing classes at the Moore School or my involvement with organizations like Sigma Omega Upsilon Professional International Business Fraternity, the Gamecock Consulting Club or Global Business Brigades, my time at the Moore School thus far has taught me how to self-advocate in a professional, effective way and to never say no to a challenging opportunity,” she said. “I look forward to developing my technical ability in upper-level classes and consistently imparting the wisdom of professionals that I meet in the years to come.”
Strength said after graduation in 2023, she hopes to work in consulting, public policy/law or a nonprofit organization to advocate for systemic change, starting with sustainable international economic development.
“I hope to have a social-impact career that addresses issues of global importance, and ideally, my future goals continue to be shaped by my experiences,” she said.