Study Abroad Scholarships for 2 Hatters

June 12, 2014

World-SeoulStetson University students John Dieck and Shelby Block have been awarded The Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship, one of the most prestigious national scholarships for study abroad. The Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program was established by the International Academic Opportunity Act of 2000 and is sponsored by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State.

“It is a very competitive award, and we’re very proud that two Stetson students won scholarships,” said Paula Hentz, Stetson’s study abroad coordinator.

At Stetson, students are strongly encouraged to study abroad. Stetson’s Study Abroad Program helps provide students with the skills to lead a significant life: it helps one become a global citizen; it expands students’ understanding of social responsibility; it encourages being hands-on with the world and challenges them with high-impact academic and co-curricular experiences outside of their comfort zones. Stetson dares students to study the world and bring it back within them for the rest of their lives!

Stetson University has a network of partner universities and affiliated programs around the world. (Seoul is pictured, right.) WORLD: International Learning will expand in geographic breadth as well as depth in certain academic or regional areas. In a continued effort to engage the entire campus community in the development of new and improved programs, WORLD: International Learning hosts university dialogues and initiatives. Check out Stetson’s Study Abroad website here.

Dieck John

“There are so many different foods, languages and perspectives,” said John Dieck, pictured left, who is currently studying in Rabat, Morocco. “It is not your typical study abroad country. I’ve been here for one week and I look forward to the next five weeks.” Dieck desired to go to a country that he and other people knew little about. “I wanted to learn more about that part of the world most Americans so greatly fear” he said, “and I realized how wrong many Americans’ perceptions were of the Middle East.” John also enjoys the Arabic language greatly, but because Stetson only offers two Arabic classes, he began to look at other programs to continue his study of the Arabic language. “I then began looking at study abroad programs in the Middle East and North Africa, which is how I stumbled upon the CIEE Rabat Summer Language and Culture Program.”

Shelby Block, pictured right, will be studying in Innsbruck, Austria, and traveling to other countries. “Traveling will absolutely be the experience of a lifetime,” Block exclaimed. Because her twin sister, Emily, was also planning to travel abroad as well, “we wanted to try to minimize the cost as much as possible so we could maximize the traveling and fun we get to have while we’re over there,” she said. Block immediately began to look for support elsewhere.

ShelbyBlockBoth students agreed that the application process was tedious and competitive, but they are thrilled about the support they received. “Winning the scholarship really took a lot of stress off of me and my family, and it will allow me to travel to the places I really want to learn more about,” Block said.

Block and Dieck are also excited to return so that they can share their new-found cultural knowledge. Dieck hopes to find a career connected to Morocco. “I hope to end up working in something related to Morocco, whether it be research as a historian or something with the State Department,” he said.

Block wants to share what she learned by teaching others. As an education major, Block will be completing her senior education internship in the fall; she will be teaching children eager to learn about the world around them. “Stetson has taught me to value cultural diversity, and I would like to share that with my students,” she said. “I think that it is important for children to know about other cultures, especially as classrooms become more culturally diverse.”

The Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program is open to all U.S. citizen undergraduates, in good academic standing, who show financial need, and have been accepted into a credit-bearing study abroad or internship program that is a minimum of four weeks in length.

To learn more about this program, click here.

by Grace Aguda


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