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Amber Schilling
Name: Amber Schilling
Residence: Gaston, S.C.
Major: History

Amber Schilling 2Amber Schilling 3Amber Schilling

When junior 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.

These 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.

“Before I 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 situations.”

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

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