Chelsea Esquivel

Chelsea Esquivel cto grant awardee
First Name
Last Name

Bachelor of Culinary Arts

Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology


Thank you so very much for this generous offer, which I am pleased to accept.  With the 15% scholarship waiver I have received from the school, my yearly course fees will amount to €8,458.  In February we submitted the required €2,000 deposit, which because of bank fees was received as €1,948.50 (as per attached receipt).  This leaves a balance of €6,509.50, €4,000 of which is due before registration in September and the balance by November as an extension was granted due to Covid.  The CTO grant of up to $2,500 will cover another approximately €2,200. 

My mother started a second, part-time job at the end of last year and was fortunate enough to have kept both her full-time job and the part-time job throughout the Covid-19 crisis.  She will have saved the equivalent of €2,100 by July 15 at which time we will be wiring another payment to the school.  We have been on a very tight budget since the start of this year, but I must give credit to my little brother who has been very understanding.  My grandparents have committed to €1500 per year.

My mother has also secured a boarder who lives out of town but will be attending the Sixth Form in our city to rent my soon-to-be vacant bedroom. We have secured accommodation in Galway. I am using the savings account I have had since childhood and where I have saved all my income from employment over the years to cover the travel costs from Belize to Ireland.  I have arranged to stay with a family member in England during school breaks.  One of the benefits of studying Culinary Arts is that family and friends willingly open their homes to chefs!

I will seek part-time employment at the end of my first semester when I have had a chance to settle in.  Ireland offers tuition grants for International Bachelor students in their final year, and I fully intend to apply for this in my third year. 

I applied for other scholarships/grants ranging between $500 and $3,000 USD but to date have only heard back from CTO.  I know that Covid has delayed many of these programmes but I am hopeful that I will receive at least one other positive response.  I do not take the sacrifices my mother is making lightly and will continue to apply for these types of programmes throughout the three years to lessen her financial burden.

We have had preliminary conversations with a loan officer at the government Development Finance Corporation that offers student loans at reduced rates where we detailed some of the same information contained herein.  Considering that we were awaiting responses from these grant applications, we scheduled our in-person meeting for August 4.  We have already provided the required documentation, so this meeting is to determine how much we would need to borrow and what the disbursement schedule will be. 

I will gladly provide a progress report and testimonial at the end of my studies, but I can also give you a short testimonial now.  I was feeling very anxious at the start of this process because almost every scholarship fund was either only open to US citizens, was only for US schools or was for a business programme.  I was so glad to find CTO and I literally cried when I received your letter.  Thank you once again for your contribution to my dream.

Year of Grant