Three Whitman juniors are expanding their horizons this semester through study abroad opportunities funded by the prestigious Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program, which provides support for students with limited financial means. Last semester, a record four Whitties spent semesters abroad thanks to the program; 14 have received Gilman Scholarships since 2013.
"We are dedicated to making sure that all students have access to study abroad," said Assistant Director of Off-Campus Studies Barbara Hoffman. "We're very proud of these three students, who worked diligently on refining essays that reveal how their respective programs will have an impact on their academic and career development."
The new Gilman scholars shared some of their motivations for studying abroad and how the experience may benefit them.
Maddy Gold '19
Hometown: Santa Monica, California
Program: IES Abroad in Granada, Spain
"The ability to speak more than one language has always been really important to me, and I have known for a while that I wanted to study abroad in a Spanish-speaking country. Spain was intriguing to me, specifically Granada, because of its extremely rich history. ... My time abroad will help me develop a greater understanding of others and different perspectives. At Whitman, this knowledge will affect the way I interact with others. These skills will influence not only my life at Whitman but also beyond, as I plan to use them to help advocate for others."
Prachi Patel '19
Hometown: Sugar Land, Texas
Program: DIS Copenhagen, Denmark
"I wanted to study abroad in a place where I didn't know the language and would be able to learn it, but where I'd still be able to take classes in English. I'm excited to take classes that will provide a totally different perspective and take advantage of being in Copenhagen, as well as classes that can provide a more thorough sense of what it's like to work as a doctor, within both American and European health care systems. I'm looking forward to exploring the city-and going to the Rundetaarn [or Round Tower], one of the first European astronomical observatories."
Grant Traynor '19
Major: biology-environmental studies
Hometown: Yakima, Washington
Program: SIT Ecuador: Comparative Ecology and Conservation
"I am really hoping to take away a better understanding and use of the Spanish language. I want to be fluent one day, and this experience is already helping me so much. I also want to learn methods in scientific research and problem-solving that will help me further down the road. So far it has been really challenging, but I am learning a lot about research and it is really cool to feel progress. I want to make great memories and friends. I am really lucky to be able to have this opportunity and I want to be able to look back and be amazed by all the things I tried and places I saw."
Established in 2001, the Gilman Scholarship is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs with support from the Institute of International Education. Gilman Scholars receive up to $5,000 toward travel costs and are expected to complete a follow-up service project highlighting what they learned.