Instead of tackling his Spring 2010 semester studies in the traditional campus classroom, Cameron University student Reuben Seymour will be immersing himself in Arabic culture in Morocco, thanks to a grant from the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program. An International Languages major, Seymour will utilize the scholarship to spend the Spring 2010 semester studying Arabic at the Qalam wa Lawh Center in Rabat, Morocco's capital city. The exotic semester of study abroad will be a boon to the Sterling native's ultimate career goal - working for the U.S. State Department in public diplomacy. Seymour is the first Cameron student to receive a Gilman Scholarship since the program's inception in 2000.
"It has always been a dream of mine to experience a new country and a new culture, and majoring in International Languages is one step in achieving this dream," says Seymour. "My focus is on Arabic, and it is important that I achieve fluency in the language. Studying abroad in Morocco will provide a much faster way of learning the language. I hope to gain a better understanding of Moroccan culture and to improve my knowledge of the country as a whole. These experiences are going to have a great impact on me, and I anticipate that the cultural knowledge, language fluency, and the experience of adapting to another culture will be invaluable to my career and professional goals."
Recipients of the Gilman Scholarship are required to carry out a Follow-on Project that promotes international education and the Gilman Scholarship Program at the students' home institution or in their home community. Through his Follow-On Project, which includes presentations and media interviews, Seymour will discuss and reexamine the context of his Moroccan study experience.
"I'm excited about the opportunity to share that information and to discuss it with others," he says. "I look forward to the project and the opportunity to let everyone know how critical the support of the Gilman program is in supporting study abroad."
One target audience for Seymour's Follow-On Project is comprised of his fellow students. "Cameron has recently implemented a plan to increase the number of students participating in study abroad and the number of programs available at the university," he explains. "My project aims to help the university reach these goals by planting the seed of interest within the minds of the students and by informing them about the Benjamin A. Gilman Scholarship and how it can help them participate in international education."
The Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program seeks to diversify the kinds of students who study abroad and the countries and regions where they go by supporting undergraduates who might not otherwise participate due to financial constraints. The congressionally funded program is sponsored by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State and is administered by the Institute of International Education through its Southern Regional Center in Houston, TX.
Award recipients are chosen by a competitive selection process and must use the award to defray eligible study abroad costs, including program tuition, room and board, books, local transportation, insurance and international airfare. Award amounts vary depending on the length of study and student need.
The Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program is open to all U.S. citizen undergraduates, in good academic standing, who meet the following criteria: the applicant must be receiving a Federal Pell Grant; the applicant is applying to or has been accepted into a study abroad program eligible for credit by the student's accredited institution of higher education in the U.S.; the applicant is studying abroad for at least 28 days in one country; and the applicant is studying abroad in any country except Cuba or a country on the U.S. Department of State's current Travel Warning list.
For more information about the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program, go to http://www.iie.org and click on the Study Abroad portal.
December 10, 2009