38 USAC students studying in China, England, Costa Rica, Brazil, Czech Republic, Australia, Japan, Spain, Italy, India, Thailand, Ghana, and Germany will receive a total of nearly $20,000 in Gilman scholarships this spring. These students are among over 700 outstanding American undergraduate students from 341 colleges and universities across the US who have been selected to receive the prestigious Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship, sponsored by the US Department of State, to participate in a study abroad or international internship program during the spring 2014 academic term.[dt_quote type=”blockquote” font_size=”normal” animation=”none” background=”plain”]”I first heard about the opportunity to study abroad my freshman year. I thought it was a cool concept, but I did not think twice about it. I come from a very underprivileged background and have always thought that experiences like studying abroad were not for people like me, because I could not afford it. But over the summer, I learned of a friend who was able to study abroad with the help of some scholarships. Getting this news motivated me to look into studying abroad as well.” –Koami Attila, University of Nevada, will be studying economics in Brazil this spring as a Gilman Scholar[/dt_quote]
Gilman Scholars receive up to $5,000 to apply towards their study abroad program costs. The program aims to diversify the students who study abroad and the countries and regions where they go. Students receiving a federal Pell Grant from two- and four-year institutions who will be studying abroad or participating in an international internship for academic credit are eligible to apply. Scholarship recipients have the opportunity to gain a better understanding of other cultures, countries, languages, and economies — making them better prepared to assume leadership roles within government and the private sector.
Since the establishment of the Gilman International Scholarship Program by the International Academic Opportunity Act of 2000, over 13,000 students nationwide have received this prestigious award. Congressman Gilman, who retired in 2002 after serving in the House of Representatives for 30 years and chairing the House Foreign Relations Committee, commented, “Study abroad is a special experience for every student who participates. Living and learning in a vastly different environment of another nation not only exposes our students to alternate views, but also adds an enriching social and cultural experience. It also provides our students with the opportunity to return home with a deeper understanding of their place in the world, encouraging them to be a contributor, rather than a spectator in the international community.”
The program is administered by the Institute of International Education (IIE). According to Allan Goodman, President and CEO of the Institute of International Education, “International education is one of the best tools for developing mutual understanding and building connections between people from different countries. It is critical to the success of American diplomacy and business, and the lasting ties that Americans make during their international studies are important to our country in times of conflict as well as times of peace.”