While most Santa Fe College students are settling into their second week of classes at the Northwest Campus or one of the SF Centers, second year SF student Janet Chandler is gearing up for the trip of a lifetime. The 19 year old from Micanopy will spend fall semester studying at the Jingdezhen Ceramic Institute in Jingdezhen, China.
Chandler was recently awarded a Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship by the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and the Institute of International Education. She was one of 960 students selected from more than 2,500 applicants.
“The Gilman Scholarship is a highly prestigious award,” said Allison Nyamuame, Coordinator, International Education. “The money awarded is intended to go toward a study abroad experience. Janet will be using the $4,500 award to study in the program ‘Ceramics in China’ this semester.”
Chandler, who has long wanted to travel abroad but lacked the funds to do so, was thrilled when she got the news.
“My first reaction was disbelief, quickly followed by surprise,” Chandler said. “I just couldn’t grasp that the possibility of going to China was no longer a possibility, but reality. And, I wasn’t just going for a week, I was going for a whole semester.”
Chandler leaves for China Sept. 7, and will spend three months there. Though she will study in Jingdezhen, her coursework will include travel throughout China including Shanghai, Beijing and Xian.
Chandler says she most looks forward to the cultural immersion that studying abroad offers, and making friends from all over the world. She says that working with ceramics naturally lends itself to friendship. “Nothing makes friends better then clay,” Chandler said. “And I can’t forget the food. I am looking forward to trying new food with new friends in new places, and learning something new every day.”
After completing her study abroad, Chandler plans to eventually graduate from Santa Fe and transfer to an American university to continue her ceramics studies.
“Not just ceramics as an art form, but the physics and chemistry of ceramics as well,” Chandler said. “Career-wise, I don’t know what the future holds, but if I love what I learn, then I will make what I learn work for me.”
The Gilman Scholarship is open to undergraduate U.S. citizens who have been awarded a Federal Pell Grant and are applying for or are accepted into a study abroad program. The study abroad program must be over four weeks long and must not be in a country under the State Department’s Travel Warning List. After meeting these guidelines, anyone in any major or field of study is eligible.
Chandler is the second student from Santa Fe to win a Gilman scholarship. The first was Danielle Rossi in 2009. Chandler was the only SF student to apply for the Gilman scholarship this year, and she encourages other SF students to take advantage of the opportunity.
“I don’t know about you, but I find that statistic kind of sad. Think of all the lost opportunity,” Chandler said. “If you never try something new, nothing new will ever happen to you. I will be forever grateful to the Gilman scholarship for giving me this opportunity. Without it I would never have been able go to China.”
For more information about the Gilman Scholarship or study abroad opportunities, contact Allison Nyamuame at 395-5607.
~ This press release was written by Amanda Hernandez, Communication Specialist, College Relations