As a first-generation college student, rising junior Hannah Petitti is used to navigating her way through new experiences. Now, she’ll have an opportunity to become a resource to other students just like her.
Hannah is the recipient of a prestigious Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship to study abroad. As an Honors student, she’ll spend the fall semester at the prestigious Oxford University in the UK. The Gilman Scholarship enables students of limited financial means to study abroad, gain a deeper understanding of their place in the world and encourage them to be a contributor, rather than a spectator, in the international community.
The congressionally funded scholarship requires Hannah and other recipients to develop and execute a service project related to their time abroad. Because she’s “been there, done that,” Hannah plans to create a support organization at Heidelberg to assist other first-generation college students who want to study abroad.
I want to help students get tools and resources to study abroad and break down stigmas (that it’s too expensive),” Hannah says. “It can feel impossible to take that first step, but once you get the ball rolling, the world is your oyster.
The group will be a resource not only for planning to study abroad but in a broader sense, simply navigating the college process. Although first-gen students will be the target audience, the group won’t be exclusive to those students.
“With study abroad, you have to plan for it financially and academically,” she says. With her previous travel to China as part of Heidelberg’s teaching delegation at Tianjin Normal University and now, planning for her semester at Oxford, Hannah believes her shared experiences can be an asset to other students.
While at Oxford University, Hannah will study human rights and international law. She’ll explore how countries work together on policy issues and gain an understanding of global cultures and how they function similarly and differently.