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Volume 10, Edition 5 February 2011

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UNCG tops Gilman awards in the state

IPC is extremely proud to announce that the following students are recipients of the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program for participation in a spring 2011 semester exchange program:

Brendan Daniel ($3,000): The University of Tartu, Estonia (Political Science)
Ivan Gilbert ($3,500): Yeditepe University, Turkey (Art)
Jessie Hill ($4,000): University of Oulu, Finland (Human Development and Family Studies)
Desiree Newbie ($1,000): The Chinese University of Hong Kong (Marketing)
John Parker ($5,000): The Chinese University of Hong Kong (English)
Solomon Valentine ($2,000): Universidad San Ignacio de Loyola, Peru (Marketing)

Solomon Valentine accepting a special Gilman gift

During the spring 2011 application cycle, the Gilman Scholarship Program received nearly 2,900 applications for over 850 awards. UNCG was awarded the largest number of scholarships among all colleges and universities in North Carolina.

The Gilman Scholarship Program offers awards for undergraduate study abroad and was established by the International Academic Opportunity Act of 2000. This scholarship provides awards for U.S. undergraduate students who are receiving Federal Pell Grant funding at a two-year or four-year college or university to participate in study abroad programs worldwide.

Additionally, these students had received Gilman scholarships for the fall 2010 semester:

Michael Bass ($2,500): National Taiwan University, Taiwan (Theater)
Teresita Cherry ($8,000): The Chinese University of Hong Kong (Business Administration)
Evans Mack ($3,500): Kazan State University, Russia (Math)
Shamor Peeler-Dean ($3,000): University Rennes 2, France (Music)
Michael Tuso ($3,000): Universidad San Ignacio de Loyola, Peru (Political Science)

In addition to the travel grants provided through endowment, every year IPC helps students procure outsider funds for study abroad. Last year students were awarded $53,500 from external sources.

Yes, Adult Students Can Study Abroad As Well! by Issa Gakou*

My name is Issa Gakou. I am a graduate student in French and Francophone Studies. I have been in Angers, France since August 21, 2010, as an exchange program participant. Study abroad is a great opportunity that every student must take advantage of - even adult students! The advantages of study abroad extend well beyond academics. It is a way to meet new people and get to know a new society, culture, and way of doing things that are often very different from your own. Study abroad is also a way to enrich your résumé with international experience, a trait that nearly all employers seek from new employees in this world of globalization.

Issa making a snowman in Kandersteg Switzerland

For me, the opportunity to travel overseas does not come along very often; therefore, I chose to come to France a few days before classes began. I used this time to visit Paris. It is an exceptionally beautiful and romantic city that I believe everyone should visit. Do not let the French language intimidate you, because there are dozens of languages spoken in Paris. It even seems that French is the commonly shared second language! During the past three months, I have travelled to Paris 7 times; nobody can beat that, I’m sure! I have also found the time to travel to Switzerland twice, Belgium, Luxembourg, and Holland (Amsterdam).

Study abroad is a time to travel and experience new things and see new places. Before coming to France, I never thought I would learn the traditional dances of at least nine countries in one night! I never imagined I would make friends with people from Greece, Russia, Portugal, Bolivia, Ireland, Australia, Romania, Ukraine, Morocco, Lebanon, Spain, etc. I doubted that typical undergraduate exchange students would enjoy socializing with an older adult student without putting too much focus on age differences, but I have been definitely proven wrong.

Issa with a friend at the Chateau dÁngers

View of Kandersteg, Switzerland

I never thought I would stand in line at 6am to get a free bicycle from the city and become so fit while being so environmentally friendly. I never thought I would start a leadership project at UNCG and do the presentation from a small town in Switzerland called Kandersteg (4500 miles away from UNCG) on a snowy day in October. Yes, that’s right, snow in October! I never thought I would get to enjoy so much French food - from the popular baguette to the croissant, crêpe, brioche, tartiflette, curieux curry, epatante patate, and more. This experience has certainly exceeded my expectations. How much more could an exchange student ask for?

I encourage all students, and especially adult students, to take advantage of exchange programs. In my case, not only will my course credits transfer to UNCG, but I also made many friends from all over the world. This gives me another reason to travel and visit them in their respective countries. So, what are you waiting for? Study abroad, and see the world!

*Issa is a graduate student originally from Senegal.
He is studying abroad at the University of Angers, one of several exchange partners in France.

Previous editions:

Volume 10, Edition 4, December 2010

Volume 10, Edition 3, November 2010

Volume 10, Edition 2, October 2010

Volume 10, Edition 1, September 2010

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