Students receive scholarships to study abroad

Six Elon students have received a total of $31,000 from the U.S. Department of State to study abroad in the spring.

Six Elon students received scholarships to study abroad in Spain, India, France, Jordan and Dominican Republic in the spring.
Kevin Amaya ’15, Alexandra Barteldt ’16, Ana Brambila ’15, Caleigh Erickson ’15, Alejandra Orellana-Portillo ’15 and Alexandra Robinson ’15 have each received funding from the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program.

“One of the centerpieces of the Elon Commitment is 100 percent access for Elon students to global study,” said Bill Burress, assistant director of international programs in the Isabella Cannon Global Education Center. “The Gilman Scholarship serves students who are among the least likely to participate in global study, and having six students selected in one semester is a significant achievement as we strive towards the goal of 100 percent access.”

The Gilman International Scholarship Program offers grants to undergraduate students who are U.S. citizens and have limited financial means to pursue academic studies or credit-bearing, career-oriented internships abroad.

Amaya, who has a double major in marketing and international business, and Erickson, who has a double major in psychology and French, will both be studying in France during the spring semester. Amaya received a $5,000 award, and Erickson received $4,000.

Amaya will be studying business in English and French alongside other international and French students in the ESDES School of Management at Université Catholique de Lyon, France. Erickson will be studying at Université Paul Valéry in Montpellier, France in a program for students who want to become highly proficient in French.

The scholarship will help Amaya with his goal of becoming an international businessman.

“In essence, the Gilman Scholarship will allow me to receive an excellent education in an amazing country as well give me an opportunity to apply this knowledge to help my future career in the field of international business and marketing,” Amaya said. “With financial assistance, I strongly believe I can develop into the effective businessman that I know I can be.”

Barteldt, who is majoring in human service studies and minoring in religious studies, will be studying in Varanasi, India. Robinson, who has a double major in international studies and religious studies, will be studying in Amman, Jordan. Both students received $8,000 each because they qualified for the Critical Need Language Award. The award is given to students studying a critical need language while abroad in a country in which the language is predominantly spoken.

Barteldt will be in a program that focuses on the convergence of religion, urban studies and environment in India. Students take a core course that addresses these issues along with a culture in practice course and Hindu or Urdu language. Robinson will study Arabic language and culture in the ancient city of Amman.

Brambila received $4,500 and will be participating in service learning in Santiago, Dominican Republic. She is majoring in human service studies and minoring in public health studies. Brambila will study Spanish, community development and social science research while participating in an internship placement and conducting her own research project. This program is unique because of its emphasis on community engagement and research.

Orellana-Portillo, who has a double major in international studies and human service studies as well as a double minor in Spanish and anthropology, will be studying Spanish and culture alongside other international students in Toledo, Spain. She received $1,500.

Orellana-Portillo, who will be living with a host family, is looking forward to being immersed in the Spanish language as well as the opportunity to study abroad.

“Receiving the Gilman Scholarship has changed the way I view my future study abroad experience,” she said. “I’m no longer weighed down by the thought of not being able to afford the same experience that my peers will have. I can now go abroad with nothing holding me back and an endless amount of possibilities before me.”

The Gilman International Scholarship Program aims to support students who have traditionally not been able to study abroad for a variety of reasons including financial constraints. The selection process is competitive and the award can be used to pay tuition, room and board, books, local transportation, insurance and international airfare.

The scholarship was named after retired New York congressman Benjamin A. Gilman who spent 30 years serving in the House of Representatives and was the chair of the House Foreign Relations Committee.

Elon’s six recipients will be required to do a service project that promotes international education and the scholarship program at Elon University. The project proposal, an essay and academic progress were all factors in the selection process.