Dezmone Valentine, a senior majoring in middle-grades education at the University of North Georgia (UNG), has been awarded a Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship for study abroad during spring 2017, when she will travel to Valencia, Spain.
In Valencia, Valentine will spend three months working in a middle school, including six weeks as a full-time teacher.
"As a Gilman Scholar, Dezmone will have the unique opportunity to carry out her teaching internship abroad, which will provide her interesting insight into Spanish culture and pedagogy that she will be able to bring back into her own classroom," said Dr. Anastasia Lin, assistant dean of student research and scholarship. "Her students will be very fortunate to have a teacher with so much global experience and perspective."
Earlier this spring, four other UNG students were awarded Gilman scholarships to travel in fall 2016. Christal Martinez studied in Chile, Matthew Preston studied in Germany, and Nicholas Salter and Darion Gibson studied in China.
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. During the spring 2017 application cycle, the Gilman program reviewed more than 2,700 applications nationally for more than 850 awards.
"After studying abroad in Estonia for five months in spring 2014, I knew I wanted to spend more time abroad," said Valentine, who traveled to Estonia on a Project Global Officer scholarship. "In my previous trip, I had the opportunity to see much of Eastern Europe, and I wanted to see more of the continent. Plus, having that cultural awareness is very valuable, and I definitely want to bring multiculturalism into my classroom."
Gilman 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, and is sponsored by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State.
UNG offers study abroad programs in countries around the world through its Center for Global Engagement, which facilitates international and cross-cultural experiences for students, faculty, staff and the greater community in order to better integrate UNG into the globalized world.