KALAMAZOO—Two Western Michigan University students have won a total of $8,500 in scholarships to study foreign languages overseas during the 2013-14 academic year.
Brad Baughman of New Buffalo, Mich., and Rebecca Dubord of Escanaba, Mich., were among 1,000 students selected from a nationwide pool of nearly 2,000 applicants to receive awards from the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program.
Since its inception in 2001, more than 13,000 students from across the nation have received the prestigious Gilman Scholarship, which provides up to $5,000 for American students to pursue overseas study for college credit. To date, nine WMU students have received the award.
The scholarship program helps diversify the kinds of students who study abroad and the countries and regions where they go. It is administered by the Institute of International Education and sponsored by the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.
Baughman received a $4,000 Gilman Scholarship. A graduate of New Buffalo High School, he is a senior majoring in global and international studies and minoring in Arabic. He plans to study Arabic language at WMU's newest study abroad partner, the American University of Sharjah in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates. Baughman is the treasurer of WMU's Arabic Language Club.
Dubord received a $4,500 Gilman Scholarship. A graduate of Escanaba Area Public High School, she is a junior majoring in French and minoring in global and international studies as well as Canadian studies. She plans to study French language and culture at the Centre de Linguistique Appliquée, Université de Franche-Comté in Besançon, France. Dubord is former president of WMU's French Club and a member of the Alpha Lamda Delta honor society and the National Society of Collegiate Scholars.
Living and learning in a vastly different environment of another nation is a special experience for every student who participates, says retired U.S. Rep. Benjamin A. Gilman of New York, who sponsored the legislation creating the scholarship program that now bears his name.
"(It) not only exposes our students to alternate views, but also adds an enriching social and cultural experience," Gilman says. "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."
Allan Goodman, president of the Institute of International Education, adds that the returning students are better prepared to assume leadership roles within government and the private sector.
"It is critical to the success of American diplomacy and business," Goodman says, "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."
Baughman and Dubord were advised and supported in applying for the Gilman Scholarship by Anastasia Kaml and Ann Ganz, their WMU study abroad specialists, and Dr. Michelle Metro-Roland, WMU advisor for the Gilman program and director of faculty and global program development in the University's Haenicke Institute for Global Education.
Students receiving a federal Pell Grant who are planning to study abroad are encouraged to visit iie.org/gilman to learn more about the scholarship. Eligible students interested in applying should first contact the WMU Gilman advisor at firstname.lastname@example.org or (269) 387-5890.