CLEMSON — The positive impacts of studying abroad are undeniable. A recent survey by the Institute for International Education of Students (IES) found that 80 percent of those who studied abroad reported an enhanced interested in academic study, 52 percent attained advanced degrees and 76 percent reported they acquired skillsets while studying abroad that influenced their career path. In addition, students who participate in a study abroad experience are setting themselves apart from their peers.
Recognizing the importance an international education experience can have on one’s life, the U.S. Department of State tries to make it a reality for all students through the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship program, which enables Federal Pell Grant recipients “to study or intern abroad, thereby gaining skills critical to our national security and economic prosperity.” Approximately one in three Clemson students who apply for the Gilman Scholarship are awarded funding between $3,000 and $5,000. For students who are studying a critical needs language, the funding could be as much as $8,000.
Funding through the Gilman Scholarship provides students with an opportunity to pursue their dreams of studying abroad who otherwise couldn’t. As stated by the Institute of International Education, “the population of U.S. students studying abroad continues to diversify, with greater inclusion of students from underrepresented racial and ethnic backgrounds.” This year, the Gilman Scholarship is helping 16 Clemson Tigers study across the globe, including Juanita Pacheco, a nursing major who is spending the fall semester in Cyprus.
“Organizations like this make it possible for all students to study abroad and I am so thankful that I was selected to receive this scholarship to ease the financial burden on my family,” said Pacheco. “And the application process was easy to navigate. The Clemson Abroad office encouraged me every step of the way.”
Keneth Granados, a health science student, was awarded a Gilman Scholarship to help fund his study abroad experience in spring 2018.
“Being awarded this scholarship allowed me to study abroad, which was something I did not previously think was feasible. So, for that, and much more, I am forever grateful to the Gilman Scholarship Program for providing me with the opportunity to experience the best academic semester of my undergraduate career,” said Granados.
Since 2015, Clemson Abroad has seen an increase of 54.5 percent in applicants and award recipients.
“We recognize the financial challenge that many students face when exploring the option of studying abroad. Thus, we have bolstered our own knowledge and outreach to students to ensure that they take advantage of excellent funding opportunities like the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship,” said Meredith Wilson, associate director of Clemson Abroad.
“Gilman gave me the opportunity to study abroad in China for the first time, allowing me to be immersed in the local language and culture as well as to learn more about international scientific practices related to my career interests,” said Irene Cheng, who will graduate from Clemson with a dual degree in bioengineering and modern languages with a focus in Mandarin Chinese. “Every day in China was full of new, fun and challenging experiences. The impact of my Gilman experience was pivotal as an undergraduate student – I learned to step out of my comfort zone and met amazing new friends.”
To apply for the Gilman Scholarship, students must meet the eligibility requirements outlined by the organization. The application includes student and study abroad program information and two essays, a statement of purpose and a service project proposal.
Clemson Abroad works diligently with Pell Grant recipients throughout the year and provides information sessions, drop-in sessions, writing workshops and one-on-one appointments to help set applicants up for success.
The application deadline for spring and early decision summer 2019 is Oct. 2, 2018. If you are interested in pursuing a study abroad experience or in learning more about the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship, plan to attend the Study Abroad Fair from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. this Wednesday in the Hendrix Student Center.
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