George Washington University was recently recognized by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs as the Top Producer of Gilman recipients over the past twenty years in the medium institution category. The Office for Study Abroad produced 15 recipients for the March 2021 cycle and 207 total awardees since the program’s inception in 2001.
“The Gilman Scholarship has helped the Office for Study Abroad toward its mission and goal of improving access to study abroad. This scholarship has been crucial in our efforts to break down barriers for students who may not have considered studying abroad before because of their initial financial concerns,” said Kimberly Rush, Manager of Advising Services.
Throughout its twenty-year history, the Department of State’s Gilman Program has reshaped study abroad to make it more accessible and inclusive for American students by providing scholarships to outstanding U.S. undergraduate students who, due to financial constraints, might not otherwise participate. This award is given to Pell-eligible students participating in semester, academic year, and summer international programs.
A number of GW students who have received the Gilman Scholarship credit the award with enabling them to have the transformative experience of studying abroad. Cidnei Rucker, a GW student studying international business, used the Gilman Scholarship to study abroad in her dream destination of London, England. She describes the Gilman Scholarship as a “life changer,” because it made the high cost of living in London less prohibitive to studying abroad there. Yejin Lim, a recent GW graduate, credits the Gilman Scholarship with making her immersive study abroad experience in Wellington, New Zealand possible; “[it] brought opportunities I couldn’t even imagine,” she told GW Office of Study Abroad.
"As a first generation student, I was honored to receive the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship for Spring 2020. I was brought opportunities I couldn't even imagine. I studied Humanities at New Zealand's capital, Wellington."
Yejin Lim, CCAS '21
Study Abroad Destination: Wellington, NZ
Like Yejin, many of GW’s other Gilman recipients have also been able to immerse themselves in unfamiliar cultures and communities using the award. Edna Karlo gained a deeper knowledge of Omani culture and the Arabic language during her time abroad in the culturally-rich region of Manah, Oman. However, she spent her time as a Gilman Scholar in SIT Uganda. She told GW Office of Study Abroad that her study abroad experience helped her gain “insight into how and where I want to utilize my Arabic knowledge post-graduation.” Jennifer Cuyuch, a GW student studying political communication, Spanish, and photography, became deeply involved with the local community during her semester in Seville, Spain. Receiving the Gilman Scholarship shaped Jennifer’s life in “unimaginable ways,” and allowed her to form lifelong friendships during her time in Spain.
All of GW’s former Gilman Scholarship recipients agree that although applying for the award does require a bit of work, it is well worth the effort. Several former recipients recommended that interested students begin the application process as early as possible, and get feedback from as many people as possible on the three application essays. Anthony Hu, who used his Gilman Scholarship to intern at the Bahrain Center for Human Rights in Tours, France this past summer, encourages students not to get discouraged if they do not receive the award based on their first application. “You can always tweak your application and reapply for the next cycle,” he told GW Office of Study Abroad.
"What attracted me to the Gilman [scholarship], is that they viewed study abroad as I did - an opportunity to learn and grow."
Hannah Sturgis, CCAS '21
Study Abroad Destination: London, UK
Interested in learning more about the Gilman Scholarship and other funding opportunities for study abroad? Schedule an appointment with your Study Abroad Advisor today. Apply for the Gilman Scholarship and help GW continue to support making international education more accessible for the next twenty years and beyond!