Two University of North Georgia students from more than 1,000 students nationwide were awarded the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship for study abroad during summer 2014. A third UNG student received the scholarship for fall 2014.
Ryan Blanchard, Zachary Hanvey, and Nathan Patterson will use the funds to support travel and study in Seoul, South Korea; Liaocheng, China; and Fez, Morocco, respectively. Blanchard received $5,000, Hanvey received $3,500, and Patterson received $2,500. The Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, and supports study abroad program costs. The program aims to diversify the students who study abroad and the countries and regions where they go.
"The Gilman Scholarship supports internships in underrepresented areas such as the Middle East and Asia, which are some of the key areas of UNG's foreign language offerings," said Katie Lapish, study abroad advisor in UNG's Center for Global Engagement (CGE). "We are very proud and excited for these three exceptional students. We want other students to know that anyone can come to the CGE and request help in finding scholarships, which can very much help support their study abroad experiences."
Blanchard is interested in the Korean language and culture, and is currently serving as a counselor in UNG's Federal Service Language Academy program. He will attend Sogang University in Seoul, South Korea in fall 2014, and then later will complete an internship, also in South Korea. Hanvey currently is attending Liaocheng University in China, where he is studying Chinese language and culture. Patterson, who is in UNG's Corps of Cadets, is taking two intermediate-advanced Arabic classes at the Arabic Language Institute in Morocco.
"I'll be here for eight weeks, and I'm hoping this experience will help me achieve my goals," Patterson said via email from Morocco. "Because Arabic is designated as a strategic language by the U.S. military, I want to use my knowledge of the language to branch into military intelligence."
Gilman Scholarship recipients have the opportunity to gain a better understanding of other cultures, countries, languages, and economies — preparing them to assume leadership roles within government and the private sector. U.S. Rep. Benjamin A. Gilman, who retired in 2002 after serving in Congress for 30 years and chairing the House Foreign Relations Committee, said that 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," Gilman said. "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."
Award recipients are chosen by a competitive selection process and must use the award to defray eligible study or intern abroad costs. These costs include program tuition, room and board, books, local transportation, insurance and international airfare. The Congressionally-funded program is administered by the Institute of International Education.
"That UNG had three Gilman Scholars out of an estimated 2,300 recipients for the year, nationwide, is a clear testament to the university's commitment to excellence on the global stage and the hard work and year-round dedication of CGE," said Dr. Anastasia Turner, assistant dean of student research and scholarship. "After their time abroad, these scholars will rejoin the UNG community wiser, more globally aware, and eager to share their knowledge with our community."