history major Amber Schilling chose to study abroad at the University
of Hyderabad in Hyderabad, India, she expected there would be a cultural
learning curve. She did not, however, expect to share her walk to class with
herds of water buffalo.
During her spring 2012 semester in India,
Schilling, the recipient of a Benjamin
A. Gilman International Scholarship, learned to expect unexpected
sights, such as peacocks and monkeys, on her travels across the expansive
University of Hyderabad campus. The Gaston, S.C., native, who worked with the Office
of Nationally Competitive Awards at Winthrop to apply for the
scholarship, lived on campus in an international student hostel and took
courses in Indian history and Hindi. Schilling also had the
opportunity to travel within India, visiting the cities of Chennai (also known
as Madras), Pondicherry, Delhi, Mumbai, Jaipur and Agra.
experiences traveling across India and navigating public transportation,
Schilling said, taught her the value of not living on a schedule. During one
particularly extensive trip through Mumbai, Schilling and her friends narrowly
missed the opportunity to act as extras in a Bollywood film.
went to India, I was like any other American – I had places to go and certain
times to be there,” explained Schilling. “In India, I learned to go with
the flow; I learned how to make the most of
Schilling added that her time in India also gave
her “a new perspective on feminism and women in the world.” “I learned what it’s
like to be a woman in places other than America.”
For Schilling, the
valuable study abroad experience, which enticed her to apply at Winthrop in the
first place, would not have been possible without the Benjamin A. Gilman
International Scholarship. The scholarship fully financed her time in India,
allowing her to make the most of her study abroad.
That, in essence, is
the most valuable advice she has to offer to fellow Winthrop students
considering studying abroad: “embrace the experience.”
Schilling will continue to embrace the Winthrop experience this fall,
when she’ll embark upon a semester-long internship in Washington, D.C.
“It’s much harder to live in another country when you are still holding on to
living in America,” she said. “Embrace it and go with it; throw yourself into
the experience and enjoy it while you’re there.”
Last updated: 5/29/13