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Students to study abroad through Gilman scholarships

May 6, 2019

University of North Georgia (UNG) student Dominique Allen knew she wanted to study abroad but was uncertain about her location until she saw the topic about the sociology of black culture in Paris.

"I wanted to learn about Paris and the black culture there, and I wanted to see a different world," said the 27-year-old from Gainesville, Georgia.

Allen, a senior pursuing a degree in human services delivery and administration with a minor in sociology, will see Paris this summer. She was one of nine UNG students awarded the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship.

The students learned in late April that they received the nationally competitive for summer 2019. Earlier this year, six UNG students earned early summer Gilman scholarships for a total of 15 UNG students, which is a new record for UNG.

The other eight recipients and one alternate were:

"Our increase in Gilman recipients demonstrates the power of the scholarship and UNG's commitment to diversity and global understanding; when our current Gilmans return home, they will encourage other students who might not have thought about study abroad to apply for both study abroad and funding," said Dr. Anastasia Lin, assistant vice president for research and engagement and an associate professor of English. "The Gilman scholarship provides much-needed support to students often underrepresented in study abroad."

More than 1,100 students were selected to receive scholarships to participate in credit-bearing study abroad programs and career-oriented internships in countries around the world.

A native of El Salvador, Udis Calderon will study in China this summer. The 22-year-old who lives in Gainesville, Georgia, said he selected the Asian nation since he is unfamiliar with it.

"The best way to learn about the culture is immerse myself there and learn firsthand of their traditions," Calderon said.

The rising senior pursuing a degree in communications with a concentration in public relations said the experience will aid him with his future profession. He hopes to work with minority students such as Latinos and Asians in a higher education institution.

"I believe that there is a need because not many people look like us and who can help with our struggles in higher education," he said. "Through this experience I can help people not only from my Latino background but from other cultures, too."

Sponsored by the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and implemented by the Institute of International Education, the Gilman program offers scholarships of up to $5,000 to outstanding U.S. undergraduate Pell grant recipients. Students who study a critical language are eligible to receive a scholarship of up to $8,000.

Japan Exchange and Teaching Program recipient

After two study abroad experiences — the first in England and the second in Japan — UNG alumna Brooklyn Rouse was ready to tackle one more. The August 2018 graduate with a degree in sociology decided "on the spur of the moment" to apply for the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Program this year.

Rouse won and will spend at least one year in Japan as an assistant language teacher. She will support Japanese teachers of English in a public school. She will use her native English ability to improve students' English fluency and will serve as a cultural ambassador. Rouse will prepare lesson plans and teaching materials, carry out classroom activities, provide language training for teachers, lead English-speaking clubs and summer camps, and participate in events in school and the community.

"Ever since I was in middle school, I said I wanted to teach in Japan one day," the 23-year-old from Braselton, Georgia, said. "I didn't think I would get there. Now I am."

JET participants sign a one-year contract, with the option of renewing for up to five years. Benefits include paid airfare to and from Japan, orientations before and after arrival, enrollment in Japan's national health insurance, a minimum of 10 days paid vacation and an annual starting salary of $30,000.

Fulbright Austria alternate

UNG senior Kelly Reid has imagined what it would be like to work as an athletic trainer for a professional or semi-professional soccer team. She now is one step closer to making that a reality.

Reid, a senior pursuing a degree in athletic training with a minor in German, has been selected as an alternate in the U.S. English Language Teaching Assistantship Program with the Fulbright Austria program. This means Reid has a chance of being offered a position by the Austrian Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research for the 2019-20 academic year if additional assistantship positions become available. In previous years, a considerable number of positions opened up for alternate candidates before the program's July start.

Reid said her alternate status has validated the time and effort she has put into applying for different scholarships this year.

"I was surprised and excited because there is a chance I will get it," she said. "It will be a good experience to 'take advantage to further my education and use different aspects of teaching English, such as communication styles, and transfer it into work I may have in the future with international athletes and to learn the different approaches of sports medicine professionals in other countries. It will help me become more of an expert in a variety of aspects of athletic training."

Students who want to learn more about nationally competitive scholarships should contact for more information. Students interested in study abroad opportunities through various programs may visit UNG's Center for Global Engagement website.

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