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Saint Mary’s juniors win study abroad scholarships

| Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Two Saint Mary’s students, juniors Christine Germann and Victoire Michel de la Maisoneuve, received the Gilman Scholarship to participate in a study abroad program or career-oriented international internship this academic year.

Germann won an $8,000 grant because she is studying Swahili, which the Gilman Program designates as a critical language. Germann is also the first Saint Mary’s student to win the program’s Critical Need Language Supplement Program Scholarship in addition to the primary scholarship, which offers up to $5,000 for any kind of study abroad.

Germann will study abroad in Iringa, Tanzania from January through May, she said. She will join a group sponsored by the Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE) at a program focusing on language, culture and development.

“We will take five courses, including Swahili lessons, community development management and a hands-on practicum on-site at a rural [non-governmental organization] for four weeks at the end of the semester,” Germann said.

Germann said she hopes this experience will aid in her goals of pursuing a career in international development or humanitarian aid work, specifically in Africa.

“I am a Global Studies major with a concentration in international development, so this program fit my goals nicely,” Germann said.

Germann started studying Swahili on her own last summer to be better prepared for her semester abroad.

“The program includes intensive study in that language as well,” Germann said. “My impression is that the immersion process will greatly enhance comprehension too.”

Maisoneuve won a $5,000 grant to study abroad in the CIEE China Shanghai Business Culture and Language program.

“This scholarship will permit me to learn about a country and culture that I do not have much knowledge on and broaden my international education,” Maisoneuve said. “I start the process of learning Mandarin while in China, which I hope to continue once I come back to school.”

Germann said faculty at Saint Mary’s encouraged her to pursue the opportunity the Gilman Scholarship presented.

“I heard about the Benjamin A. Gilman Scholarship from the Saint Mary’s study abroad advisor, Alice Yang,” she said. “She has much experience guiding students to the often necessary funding options for study abroad programs and has actually been on the Gilman review board in the past.”

The Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program is a congressionally-funded program sponsored by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State and is administered by the Institute of International Education, according to the scholarship program’s website.

The Gilman Program aims to diversify the kinds of students who study and intern abroad as well as the countries and regions to which they travel by supporting U.S. undergraduates who might otherwise not consider these opportunities due to financial constraints, the website stated.

Germann said the application process was lengthy and included several informational sections focusing on topics like student demographics and the program for which an applicant applied.

“The most labor-intensive part was the statement of purpose essay and the follow-on service essay,” Germann said. “The statement of purpose essay is straightforward listing why you chose the program and what it holds for your future. The follow-on service essay is where the student describes how they will promote study abroad and the Gilman Scholarship upon their return.”

Germann said she would encourage all students to seek out the best experiences for themselves.

“Do not limit yourself,” she said. “If there is something that you think will assist in your personal growth, such as international education, seek information and put yourself out there.”

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About Alex Winegar

A junior at Saint Mary's, Alex is a Communicative Sciences and Disorders major. She serves as the Saint Mary's co-associate news editor. Alex enjoys traveling, food and spending time in "The Mitten."

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