By: Johnna Headley, Reporter
The Benjamin A. Gilman international scholarship provides grants to undergraduate students in the U.S. to aid funding for studying or career-oriented internships internationally. TWU Pre-Nursing sophomore Priscila Ortiz-Guerra is from Princeton, Texas. Through the Gilman Scholarship, Ortiz-Guerra is able to spend the fall semester in Valencia, Spain.
Maritza Guerrero, an education major from Ft. Worth, Texas, also won the Gilman Scholarship to study abroad in Seville, Spain. Unfortunately, further contact with Guerrero was unavailable due to traveling complications.
In an email interview, Ortiz-Guerra shared: “I’ve always dreamed of traveling around the world when I was younger but never thought it would come true. Nursing students have a semester off [while they are] waiting to hear back from the nursing schools they’ve applied to, so I thought that would be a perfect opportunity for me to go and travel.”
A big part of the process for studying abroad is for students to find out where they would like to travel to. Ortiz-Guerra had her options narrowed down to two countries – Spain and Puerto Rico. Both schools had health classes Ortiz-Guerra could take to benefit her nursing career. She chose Spain for a number of reasons. She shared: “I chose Spain because I wanted to go somewhere far away and because I knew that this could be a once in a lifetime experience. If I wanted to go to Puerto Rico, I could go visit there no problem. Not so much with Spain.”
Even though Ortiz-Guerra always wanted to travel, money had been an issue. She found out about the Gilman scholarship less than a week before the deadline. She stated: “I had a meeting with Kristen Rhoden, a former Gilman scholarship winner, who was truly the one who pushed me to do the scholarship even though the deadline was less than a week away. I’m truly grateful for Kristen for everything she has done for me because without the Gilman, I would not have been able to afford to travel to Spain for the semester.”
Studying abroad in Spain has already offered Ortiz-Guerra many great opportunities to help better her nursing resume: “I just started an internship at a hospital in the oncology section. It’s great because I’m dealing with nurses and patients hands-on. It’s also very beneficial because I’m in a hospital setting with Spanish-speaking people, so my Spanish medical terminology is growing.”
Ortiz-Guerra is hopeful that her fluency in Spanish will develop into something that can improve her nursing career. She said: “A very large portion of the population in Texas are Hispanics who speak little to no English. I want to be there not only [for] the patient but for the hospital so there won’t have to be a problem with the language barrier.”