Students receive study abroad scholarship

By David Ruvinskiy, Staff Writer

Twelve University students have been named recipients of the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship, a monetary award which funds study abroad experiences.

Named after a late New York congressman, the scholarship is a grant program designed for students with limited financial means, said David Schug, national and international scholarships program director for the University. Students collectively received $45,000 in awards.

“They have overcome some things in their lives to get here, they’re doing very well, and they found a way that study abroad is going to help them be better in serving others in their career,” Schug said. “I think that’s the kind of person that they like to give the Gilman scholarship to.”

Paisley Meyer, senior in LAS, is one of the recipients. Because of Meyer’s interest in conflict resolution between governments, she plans to apply what she has learned in her global studies major while studying in Vienna.

“This was just kind of a city and atmosphere in which my major was directly involved in,” Meyer said. “All of the things that I have been learning course-wise here at the University of Illinois are now being more put into practice.”

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Meyer said the Gilman Scholarship is designed for students who qualify for the Federal Pell Grant, a subsidy provided by the government for students who fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid.

“It’s an honor, honestly,” Meyer said. “It’s really nice to know that all of the work that you’ve put in to school and just leading up to this moment has payed off. It’s really exciting to see all your friends and family acknowledge that as well.”

Timothy Wedig, associate director of global studies, said Meyer was a good candidate for the scholarship because her major taught her to see issues from multiple perspectives. The advanced language requirement of the major as well as the major’s emphasis on writing was one of the reasons she received the scholarship, he said.

“I’m very proud of our major and of our students,” Wedig said.

Aside from the financial benefit of the Gilman Scholarship, Meyer said another benefit of receiving the scholarship is to have access to more job opportunities in the future and be able to meet with people in her field at the United States Embassy.

“I’m really just looking forward to embracing a new culture,” Meyer said. “I haven’t ever been outside of the United States for a prolonged period of time, and I definitely haven’t been in a place where I don’t know the language that well.”

Schug wants more students to apply for the Gilman Scholarship to study abroad in future semesters. He said the Campus Center for Advising and Academic Services offers many resources, including individual coaching for students, to help them earn scholarships.

“This a prime time in a student’s life where what they learn is going to help them personally and professionally for the rest of their lives,” Schug said. “It’s likely going to be life changing and life enhancing for them to have this opportunity.”

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