Gilman Award: Rahel Adebabay

Rahel Adebabay

Congratulations to Rahel Adebabay, a Junior majoring in Global Studies and minoring in African American Studies, Legal Studies, and Philosophy who was one of two SJSU recipients of the Benjamin A. Gilman Scholarship to study abroad in the spring 2023 semester. Rahel will be studying at University College Dublin in the spring. Rahel is a Peer Mentor at Peer Connections and a Research Assistant at the African American Studies department. In her personal statement (see below), Rahel, who is proudly of Ethiopian heritage, wrote that she is “eager to embark on a new academic journey and determined to excel while utilizing my leadership abilities to contribute to the campus culture.”

Rahel’s Statement of Purpose

Participating in a study abroad program would profoundly benefit my experience as a Global Studies major. My interest in foreign relations stems from the desire to serve underrepresented groups, travel, and engage with different cultures. I want to utilize my degree to work towards my vision of building a prosperous, united Africa with access to basic needs, economic sustainability, and solid educational infrastructure. As I pursue such domains, the University College Dublin would be the perfect environment to develop the skills necessary to thrive in International Affairs. Not only will I engage in a curriculum directly related to my field, but like-minded individuals will also surround me. San Jose State University is traditionally a STEM-based school, and the student population majoring in International Affairs is slim. Seeing as though the University College Dublin is highly selective and recognized for its programs, I expect my experience to challenge me, academically and personally, as I know this will ultimately make me a well-rounded student and person. Through this program, I hope to gain a new perspective in which to view the world.

Although I consider myself open-minded, I believe traveling to Dublin, Ireland, and experiencing a non-American curriculum will allow me to decenter from an American political perspective. This is especially important as a scholar in the field of International relations because this will challenge my political beliefs, worldviews, and personal values. International Affairs cannot be seen from only one perspective, and acquiring added perspective will make me more analytical and critical in nature. Such attributes will make me an attractive candidate for my future educational pursuits and professional life. Through this experience, I desire to garner skills to become an effective communicator as I am cognizant of the number of people I will meet from various backgrounds with possible language and cultural barriers. Through this experience, I want to learn how to navigate those barriers in communication. This is especially important to me as I hope to work in the peace and war conflict sector, and through this experience, I can drastically improve my communication abilities.

 I believe studying abroad is more than just about academics. It includes studying rich cultures and engaging in diverse communities. I plan to use this cultural understanding to best inform me beyond this academic semester and my day-to-day life. I believe that I am a creative, open-minded student with excellent collaboration skills and a deep-rooted commitment to improving my community. At the University College Dublin, I am eager to embark on a new academic journey and determined to excel while utilizing my leadership abilities to contribute to the campus culture. These qualities prove I would be a great candidate for the Benjamin A. Gilman Scholarship program.

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