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Want to broaden my perspectives; Gilman Scholarship Statement of Purpose Essay

Redinlove 1 / 1  
Jan 9, 2013   #1
Here is my essay; I am planning to study abroad in New Zealand and I am currently a Nutrition Student

Kia Ora! It was during my senior year of high school where I remember coming to the realization that the world we live in has an incredible charm. During that same year, my love of cooking, baking, and ultimately my passion for human nutrition had emerged. When I started out at a two-year community college, I was able to participate in a service-learning program for a Boys and Girls club that taught 6-8 year old children about the importance of fruits and vegetables. This experience opened my eyes to the realization that I want to give back to the community and become a Registered Dietitian to teach people of all ages why proper nutrition is vital to lifelong health. As soon as I stumbled upon studying abroad as an option for college students, I emailed my academic advisor for more information. I was disappointed to find out that I would only be able to go abroad when I transferred to a four-year institution. Within a couple weeks of transferring to the University of Massachusetts, I anxiously made an appointment at the study abroad office to find out when I would need to begin the application process to New Zealand through The Education Abroad Network (TEAN) program.

Now here I am, applying for the Gilman Scholarship, the scholarship that will help fund me to study abroad through TEAN and pursue my academic goals of attaining a Bachelor's degree in Human Nutrition. This scholarship will aid me in receiving academic credit towards my major and will give me the opportunity to take electives exclusive to New Zealand, allowing for an inimitable learning experience. Unfortunately, the Māori language is currently having a crisis because the New Zealand government is lacking enough support to keep it alive. With the possibility of earning this scholarship, it could assist my ability to begin learning a new language particularly important to keep the Māori culture alive. The language course I will be taking is MAOR 110, an introductory Māori course. The nutrition courses that I plan on taking will allow me to acquire major credit for when I work towards my Master's degree. These courses include HUNT 222 and 223, which are topics about vitamins and minerals.

As a student with financial needs, I was never able to have the experience of ability to travel to other countries or have resources that were easily accessible, such as educated parents or monetary funds. I believe that my choice of studying in New Zealand for 6 months will bring every aspiration I have had to travel alone outside of the country into a new degree of excitement. I have always had a certain fascination with the country of New Zealand. The TV show "No Reservations" by Anthony Bourdain has been my initial inspiration to travel to New Zealand. This show not only presented the picturesque views of the country, but it also gave me a taste of traditional Māori culture. The elements that enticed me to choose it for my destination were its language, exotic culture, history, breathtaking scenery, food authenticity, and the fact that it is not a traditional study abroad location. Opposed from the United States, the animals in New Zealand are able to roam and feed naturally without the use of hormones and nearly all the farms grow natural and organic vegetables without adding pesticides. Because of my love for nutrition, I always try to make sure my family, friends, and I are eating natural animal protein and vegetables grown locally, which I believe allows for optimal nutrition the way it was initially intended by nature.

Furthermore, the program by TEAN provides a beneficial opportunity because I will not only get to partake in New Zealand's way of life, but the trip excursions to Fiji and Thailand will allow for an ultimate cultural and educational experience. With receiving the Gilman Scholarship and gaining finances, I will have the ability to enhance my knowledge of different cultures, which are vital to my learning goals on my journey to becoming a Registered Dietitian. Also, studying abroad will provide me with the foundation of knowing how to communicate with employees and patients of different backgrounds in order to understand a diverse multiethnic workforce. Essentially, I will be able to connect with the nutrition department faculty at the University of Otago in New Zealand and search for a research project or volunteer opportunity to get involved with. This scholarship and studying abroad will help me to be psychologically ready to pursue the Dietetic Internship after obtaining my Bachelor's Degree in Human Nutrition.

The personal goals that I wish to achieve while abroad are to grow self-reliance and independence, while also building confidence in myself. I believe that taking full responsibility of my actions and myself are important for self-growth and are key to being prepared and successful for a future career. I believe that my study abroad program and receiving the Gilman Scholarship will have a huge impact on allowing me to achieve these personal goals. The reason I chose to study abroad in New Zealand and learn the Māori language is because I have always enjoyed learning about different cultures that are not very "popular." For example, most people know that the people of Italy are Italian, but in my experience, most of the people that I've come across simply do not know that New Zealander's are Māori. This is similar to my own culture because my family is Chaldean, a small catholic group that represents less than 10% of Iraq's population within the Middle East. Chaldean's speak a dialect of Arabic called Soureth. I usually have to explain to everyone the definition of a Chaldean when they want to know my nationality. On the whole, I believe that I have a distinctive cultural background, in which I am privileged to be able to go abroad and learn about New Zealand's diversity.

However, I took a lunge by being the first person in my family to study abroad, which produced a bit of a challenge. As I stated before, I knew I wanted to study abroad since my freshman year of college and I have literally given my parents a headache about it ever since. My family still has the mindset of their cultural ways from living in Iraq. So as a protective factor, they have always kept me close and had never really let me experience things on my own. It took a great deal of convincing on my part for them to grant me my wish of studying abroad. Because of this, I am working hard to gather up funds and apply to as many scholarships as I can to fulfill my wish and have a wonderful time abroad.

Thank you so much.

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