Study Abroad: Within Your Reach
CU Denver Student Awarded Prestigious Gilman Scholarship
“Today’s students have more scholarship and funding opportunities for studying abroad than ever before,”
explained Diego Garcia, Director of Global Education/Study Abroad, University of Colorado Denver. “Each year, our office’s scholarship funding increases as the number of global education programs expands, and there are scholarships available through the university’s schools/colleges as well as through national organizations such as Boren, Gilman, Diversity Abroad Scholarships and many others.”
Bright students with a track record of academic success may face financial challenges – that’s where the Global Education: Study Abroad office staff members and student peer advisors can help guide students to the right resources. A perfect example is Micaela Martinez, a junior at the University of Colorado Denver, who was recently selected to receive the prestigious Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship to study abroad.
The Gilman Scholarship Program, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, aims to diversify the kinds of students who study abroad by offering awards to undergraduates who might otherwise not have the opportunity due to financial constraints. Martinez first learned about the Gilman scholarship during her freshman year, when she attended a Study Abroad 101 workshop hosted by the Office of Global Education. After the workshop, she realized that the resources are available to make her study abroad dream a reality.
Martinez will be studying abroad in Buenos Aires, Argentina during the Spring 2015 term. She will be completing a program in Intensive Spanish Language at the University of Belgrano, through the American Institute for Foreign Studies (AIFS). In addition to receiving the full amount of the Gilman Scholarship, $5,000, Martinez was also awarded a scholarship for $5,995 from AIFS. Martinez’s scholarship success proves that study abroad does not have to be out of reach for any student.
“In this life, there is so much knowledge and compassion to be learned, so many beautiful souls and cultures to meet, and opportunities to take ahold of,”
said Martinez. For her, this is the ideal opportunity. An International Business major, Martinez is the first female in her family to attend college and to study abroad. Martinez is concentrating her degree with a regional focus on Latin America. Studying abroad will support her goal of becoming an intercultural leader and professional businesswoman. She chose the program in Buenos Aires with AIFS to bring her closer to her Latin American heritage, and to learn Spanish. Becoming bilingual in Spanish is very important to Martinez, for both personal and professional reasons.
“In my family, the Spanish language skipped two generations,” Martinez explained. Her grandparents speak Spanish, but they were fearful to teach her parents. Martinez will be the one to rekindle the language in her family. Additionally, learning Spanish will be a huge asset in her career endeavors. “We need to know other languages to compete and be part of the global marketplace,” she said.
Garcia and the team at Global Education/Study Abroad have worked with hundreds of students to help the students navigate the processes of defining and applying for scholarships and funding.
“We’re here to provide academically and professionally relevant international experiences for a diverse student population,” explained Garcia. “These experiences equip students with the cross-cultural skills necessary to succeed in today’s global society.”
After graduation, Martinez hopes to live and work in South America. “Being fully immersed in Argentinian culture and Spanish language will prepare me as a future international worker by developing my skills, perspectives, and competence,” she said.
“I chose this opportunity to travel in Argentina to better understand, acquire knowledge and experience their diverse culture and country in relationship to the United States, other Latin America countries and the rest of world.”
The Gilman Scholarship Program requires recipients complete a follow-on service project, to help promote study abroad in their own communities. For her follow-on project, Martinez will be keeping an informative blog detailing her experience abroad with weekly updates. Martinez will serve as an ambassador, guiding other students through the Gilman application process, and sharing her cultural journey in Argentina.
“I have made it my goal and obligation to become a model student and future Latina business woman who can contribute to the betterment of global communities, people, and cultures,” said Martinez. Studying abroad will take Martinez one step closer to achieving this goal.
By Emma Sletteland