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Four students study abroad with help of national scholarship program

College of Arts and Sciences students Gerti Wilson and Christopher Gunter are among the undergraduates selected to study abroad this year through the Gilman Scholars program.

Former New York Congressman Benjamin A. Gilman values international education, saying study abroad “provides our students with the opportunity to return home with a deeper understanding of their place in the world, encouraging them to be a contributor, rather than a spectator in the international community."

This Winter Session, four undergraduate students -- Christopher Gunter, Monica Lindsay, Gerti Wilson and Nathan Rouwhorst -- are participating in University of Delaware study abroad programs across three different continents with the help of the prestigious Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program

Named in honor of the long-serving congressman who chaired the House Foreign Relations Committee, the Gilman Scholarship Program is sponsored by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the U.S. Department of State. It funds undergraduate students from traditionally underrepresented backgrounds interested in study and internship opportunities in less-traveled areas of the world. 

The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs seeks to foster mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries to promote friendly, sympathetic and peaceful relations. 

After their study abroad experiences, Gilman Scholarship recipients complete a follow-on service project in an effort to inspire other students to pursue their own international journeys.

Gerti Wilson

Wilson, a senior political science major, is participating in the 2016 Winter Session study abroad program sponsored by the departments of Human Development and Family Studies and Hotel, Restaurant and Institutional Management in South Africa.

With an emphasis on service learning, students will spend time volunteering in local orphanages. 

“The opportunity to give back while also fulfilling my dream of studying abroad is exactly why I chose this program,” Wilson said.

She will be creating a blog to document her experience, which she will then incorporate as part of a spring workshop series for an organization she helped establish, Sisters on the Move, which seeks to empower young women of color. 

After receiving emails about the Gilman Scholarship from UD’s Institute for Global Studies (IGS), Wilson attended an information session on the award. 

“I have wanted to study abroad since I came on my first UD campus tour. My tour guide described studying abroad as a staple of the UD experience,” Wilson said. “During my junior year, I became very serious about looking for scholarships that would help fund my experience abroad.”

Wilson added, “I want to travel to every region of Africa before I turn 30.” Well on her way to accomplishing this goal, Wilson previously won a Plastino Scholars grant during her junior year, enabling her to conduct research in Ghana.

Christopher Gunter

A senior political science and criminal justice double major, Gunter is using the Gilman Scholarship to study in China. 

A first-generation college student, Gunter, who transferred to UD from Delaware State University, has sought opportunities to become highly involved on campus. He is vice president of the Black Student Union, a member of the Black Cabinet and a mentor for a number of organizations. 

Gunter currently works for the Delaware Department of Labor in a program titled Advancement through Pardons and Expungements (APEX). Through APEX, Gunter works with people who have recently been released from prison to apply for pardons and expungements, which enable them to have greater access to jobs and other programs. 

“My research focuses on incarcerated African American men and their re-entry back into society,” he said. 

Gunter said he hopes to establish this program at UD by training students to assist in the processes.

By participating in internships for U.S. Sens. Christopher Coons and Thomas Carper, Gunter has worked to maximize his college experience. Until recently, he did not think that study abroad would be a part of that equation.

However, Gunter’s combined drive to study abroad and his current research motivated him to apply for the Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice-sponsored Winter Session program in China, later receiving a Gilman Scholarship to help finance the program.

As he looks forward to traveling to China and learning about the Chinese criminal justice system, Gunter said, “Primarily, my excitement stems from my ability to have my western ways challenged in order to help me refocus and better appreciate both my life and academic experiences.” 

Monica Lindsay

Lindsay, an English and sociology double major from the Bronx, New York, is using the Gilman Scholarship to participate in the Department of English program in India this winter. During the month-long experience, she will volunteer at local schools, working with young Indian students.

While in India, Lindsay also plans to film documentary-style clips, which she will call “Capturing Culture.” She will also encourage other students in her program to create clips of approximately 60 seconds in length. 

Lindsay said she is hopeful that “Capturing Culture” will emphasize the importance of “letting people know that they have their own culture that they need to tap into, and that everyone should have opportunity to access and experience different cultures of the world.” 

After her study abroad experience, Lindsay said she hopes to screen the project at her former middle and high schools in the Bronx.

“I think that it is very important for us to be global citizens, world learners and active participants in different worldly activities,” said Lindsay. “Observing other cultures helps you appreciate your own. And the more you get to know different cultures, the more knowledge you obtain, both about yourself and how you fit into the global landscape of things.” 

Nathan Rouwhorst

Rouwhorst, a junior management information systems and operations management major, will take advantage of his Gilman Award during a spring 2016 study abroad program in Australia.  

About the Gilman Scholarship Program

To learn more about each of the Gilman winners’ journeys or for more details on the Gilman Scholarship Program, follow @UDGlobal on Instagram and Twitter or visit the Gilman program website.

About the Institute for Global Studies

The Institute for Global Studies was created in 2009 to enhance the international dimensions of teaching, research and outreach at the University of Delaware. IGS provides leadership and support for programs and experiences that contribute to the education of informed, skilled, open-minded citizens of the world.

Best known for coordinating the University’s study abroad program, IGS also awards scholarships and grants to faculty and students for a number of global opportunities, and administers internationally-recognized State Department-sponsored programs such as the UD Fulbright Initiative, Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI) Student Leaders Institute, Mandela Washington Fellowship Program for Young African Leaders, and most recently the Study of the U.S. Institutes for Student Leaders on Women’s Leadership(SUSI-WL) program.

IGS sponsors such signature events as Global Month each fall and country-specific celebrations each spring.

IGS collaborates with other global partners on campus, including the Office for International Students and Scholars, the Confucius Institute and the Center for Global and Area Studies. In addition, IGS partners with Enrollment Management to coordinate the UD World Scholars Program.

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Four University of Delaware undergraduates are participating in study abroad programs with the support of the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program.

Four University of Delaware undergraduates are participating in study abroad programs with the support of the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program, which seeks to foster understanding across cultures.

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