Global Colonials

January 09, 2011

Six undergraduate students received scholarships to study around the world this semester.

A half dozen GW students studying abroad this spring were awarded extra aid as recipients of the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship.

The six undergraduate winners—Sam Minifie, Fawziyya Muhammad, Johann Botha, Kathryn Bradley, Natasha Dupee and Jake Miner— will use the scholarships this spring in Egypt, China, South Korea, Ghana, Madagascar and Syria, respectively.

“These six exceptional GW students won the Gilman Scholarship because they are looking for a unique academic experience,” says Study Abroad Advisor Lucia Cucinotta. “These students chose to use this opportunity to study in places where not many U.S. students study abroad. We are very proud of these six students and look forward to hearing all about their studies when they return to campus.”

More than 2,300 Gilman International Scholarships of up to $5,000 will be awarded this academic year to U.S. undergraduates chosen through a competitive selection process. The program is sponsored by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State and is administered by the Institute of International Education through its Southern Regional Center in Houston.

Mr. Botha, an electrical engineering student in GW’s School of Engineering and Applied Science, says the award will allow him to take language classes in South Korea. “I had previously decided that I would not be able to afford independent Korean classes without the help of some sort of scholarship,” says Mr. Botha, who will study engineering during his time abroad. “A weight was lifted from my shoulders when I found out I received the Gilman Scholarship, as I can now pursue both engineering and Korean.”

“I was so excited and appreciative to hear that I received the Gilman Scholarship,” says Mr. Minifie, who has just started American University’s Middle East/North African studies program in Cairo. “I’m looking forward to my study and am very thankful for this generous opportunity.”

Paul Hoyt-O’Connor, director of GW’s Center for Undergraduate Fellowships and Research, says this spring’s six winners represents a record for GW. “These scholarships provide indispensable support to students who will be venturing afar and pursuing rigorous academic programs abroad,” says Dr. Hoyt-O’Connor. “These students also reflect the international outlook of so many of our students here at GW as they travel to Africa, the Middle East and East Asia and come to know firsthand the ways of life of distant peoples.”

Study abroad is one of GW’s most popular programs. According to Robert Hallworth, director of GW’s Study Abroad Program, approximately half of the GW student population completes a program abroad, which he says helps them “gain a different perspective on their coursework and their undergraduate experience as a whole.”

“Study abroad affords students the opportunity to immerse themselves in a foreign language, learn within another educational culture, conduct research and take courses that might not be available to them otherwise,” says Mr. Hallworth. “Overall, it is an experience that broadens students' perspectives, and we encourage all students to explore the numerous study abroad opportunities available to them at GW.”

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