Since I was a little girl, my father always told me I would travel the world. Now, I’m 21-years-old and have yet to set foot out of the country. In 2019, I took my opportunity to study abroad as a college senior majoring in International Relations in stride; I applied for a $5000 scholarship and was notified that I had been selected to be a recipient of the Gilman Scholarship. It felt as though all my prayers and hard-work had paid off until the pandemic took place.
Following my series of yes’s, came a devastating series of no’s. Flights were cancelled, money was wasted, needed time was spent prepping and preparing just for the President of my school at San Francisco State University to cancel all study abroad programs a week before my program start date for the Fall 2020 Semester.
Nonetheless, I continued to pursue my college career and decided to defer my scholarship to Spring 2021. Again, I faced the same fate. Gilman will not allow me to use the scholarship and the President has cancelled all study abroad programs after a meeting with over 100 students took place advocating for the programs to continue. Again, I’m left with the same sad song. But this time- I decided to give it a remix.
The chief advisor at The Danish School of Media and Journalism (DMJX) has allowed students hoping to study abroad for the Spring 2021 semester which the opportunity to directly enroll into the institution. With that being said, out of pocket tuition is about $5000 and housing fees are $3000.
Since my programs were cut at my host university, I will receive no financial aid and I will not be able to use my scholarship award money because of the level 3 travel advisory government precautions which bar Gilman scholars from accessing their award money. Through all of this, I still have my heart set on studying International Reporting at DMJX so I can become a successful Foreign Correspondent.
It is my senior year of college. I’m graduating Spring 2021 and I want to go out in stride while gaining international skills that will help me become a strong candidate in the workforce. I have faith in my abilities and I believe this program in Aarhus, Denmark will allow me to grow intellectually as I gather knowledge about this part of the world. I want to help create positive change in the United States by accumulating valuable knowledge and strengthening my skills as a researcher and reporter. I am actively choosing to tell myself “yes” to this opportunity after everyone has told me “no.”
But, I do need your help. If you are willing to donate to this cause, you’re investing in someone who is willing to continue going forward while the world pushes them back. I believe in optimism, love, and resilience. This year has been financially, emotionally and mentally tough for my family and I. Personally, I had to leave my home in San Francisco because I couldn’t afford it anymore. Our family dog passed away along with more than 3 of our family members. And I, myself, was in a car accident in September. I paid over $3000 out of pocket for my own trauma. All the while, still in school.
Despite everything that has occurred, I have managed to successfully teach a class, write a 60 page Senior Thesis, and endure 2 midterms and a group project in my International Media Politics class. My cumulative GPA as of right now is a 3.69 and I'm on track to make the Dean's List again this semester.
I am dedicated to my studies, to my health, my family, and my success. If you find it in your heart to donate to this cause, it would mean very much to me. I want to help make this world a better place, and I will.
Ashanté J. Ford
- Janeal Maxfield
- Greg Ford
- Renee Wilson
- Kathryn Wyatt
- William Primozich
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