For Antonette Green of Euclid, Ohio, class of 2007, there is no time like the present to learn more about herself and what she wants to do with her future. Thanks to the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program, Green now has an opportunity to explore the world and learn more about herself and her academic potential.
Green left for Alicante, Spain, on Sunday, Jan. 8, with the highest of high hopes. She plans to make the most of her first study-abroad experience, starting with content courses in Spanish history and art and three language courses in Spanish grammar, structure and syntax and oral communication at a local university.
“I’ve taken three years of the Spanish language in high school and still don’t feel as though I know half of what I should about the culture and/or language, so why not take advantage of the opportunity to study abroad and start where I left off?” Green asked rhetorically. “Ultimately, I hope to make my study-abroad experience in Alicante, Spain, something I can cherish for years to come.”
Green has spent almost her entire life within the borders of the state of Ohio, and she had never been outside of the United States before boarding a plane at Hopkins International Airport in Cleveland, Ohio, last week. Before JoAnn Bennett, Wittenberg’s director of international education, suggested to Green that she apply for a Gilman Scholarship in August 2005, a maiden voyage to Europe might never have occurred.
Four weeks after submitting an application to the Institute of International Education, Green was awarded $4,000 through the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program, which offers a competition for awards for study abroad for United States citizen students who are receiving federal Pell Grant funding at a 2-year or 4-year college or university. The program is offered through the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the U.S. Department of State and is administered by the Institute of International Education.
Established by the International Academic Opportunity Act in 2000, the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship has made awards to more than 2,000 undergraduate students from across the country in the last five years, enabling recipients to study in more than 80 nations.
Green isn’t completely sure what lies ahead of her. She will be living with a Spanish host family, and she plans to try as many new things as possible during her semester in Europe. She is sure, however, that this is a potentially life-changing experience. Simply initiating the tedious process of applying for the scholarship has been a worthwhile experience that she recommends to others.
“Nothing is always as it appears to be, and though the sheer thought of studying abroad sounds time-consuming, frustrating and frightening, it can also be really exciting,” said Green, a psychology major and sociology minor at Wittenberg. “Just think…how many people can actually say that they have experienced another culture and people in their native land all while continuing their college education? Not many. So take advantage and live it up!”