A group of College of Liberal and Fine Arts students on a trip to Urbino.
JUNE 9, 2022 — Sixteen UTSA students were named recipients of the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship—a federal program designed to open up valuable international experiences to a wider and more diverse group of students. In total, the students received $71,000 in scholarship funding.
The 16 students who received the award for the 2021-2022 academic year are one of the largest classes of UTSA Gilman Scholars—second only to the institution’s record 17 students who received the award during the 2019-2020 academic year.
Most of the students will be traveling abroad this summer, fall 2022 or spring 2023.
Administered by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA), the Gilman Scholarship supports undergraduates who might not otherwise have the opportunity to study in a diverse array of world regions due to financial constraints. To be eligible for the program, students must be receiving a Federal Pell Grant.
This year’s recipients are:
The Gilman Scholarship program advances the university’s Classroom to Career Initiative, which enables students to participate in experiential learning opportunities. Students who study abroad experience many benefits, including improving their language skills, being exposed to different cultures and traditions, broadening their perspectives, and gaining confidence, all of which can enhance their career opportunities.
As part of its strategic plan, UTSA aims for 75% of its undergraduate students to participate in some type of experiential learning by the time they graduate.
“When you go abroad, you get to learn about other languages and cultures,” said study abroad program manager Rosa Virginia Mendez. “When you see how other people live, you’ll be more open-minded and flexible. It makes us more empathetic.”
After curtailing its education-abroad programs for roughly two years due to the pandemic, UTSA is now expanding these opportunities for students by offering new programs, including the UTSA-led summer program in Seoul, South Korea and the new COS program in Urbino, Italy.
“I chose the College of Sciences Urbino, Italy program because of its novelty and relevance,” Sandoval said. “Italy is known for its rising sea level, so learning about environmental troubles like ubiquitous climate change from another perspective gave me an alluring reason to apply for the Urbino program.”
Valorz, who is also participating in this program, is excited about the chance to focus on environmental communication and opportunities for experiential learning both in class and in the surrounding community.
“Studying abroad, I will take advantage of invaluable educational opportunities, interpersonal experiences, and professional development I wish to obtain for future career and research endeavors,” she said.
Students who plan to study abroad next year can apply for the Gilman scholarship. The application process will open in mid-August and run through October 6, 2022.
The UTSA Office of Nationally Competitive Awards advises all UTSA students on the Gilman scholarship application, among other national award opportunities. The office also meets with faculty who lead study abroad programs, so that they can advertise these opportunities to students.
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