Four students from the University of New Orleans have been awarded more than $15,000 in combined scholarships from the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs to study abroad during the summer of 2016. UNO recipients of the prestigious Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship are Ausinikka Hunter, Brianna McManus, Rachel Billiot-Bruleigh and William Archambeault. Hunter and McManus will study in Montpellier through the UNO Glories of France Program. Billiot-Bruleigh will travel to San Ramon with the UNO-Costa Rica program, and Archambeault will visit Kyoto with the UNO-Japan: Study at Doshisha University program.
“Visiting Japan has long been a dream of mine, but I never thought it was financially feasible,” Archambeault said. “This trip will provide me with a great opportunity to explore the historical and cultural connections between New Orleans and Japan.”
Billiot-Bruleigh said she has long been fascinated with Costa Rica’s ecosystems, culture and heritage. She learned about study abroad programs during her first year at UNO.
“Now, as my second year comes to a close, I look forward to exploring and experiencing the diverse environments and communities Costa Rica has to offer during my time there,” she said. “I feel honored and blessed for the opportunities this scholarship is helping me realize through its support.”
“I believe this project is a vital part of the scholarship, as it gives more meaning and value to the trip taken and makes the prospect realistic for others, too,” added Billiot-Bruleigh.
From more than 3,400 applicants, approximately 950 American undergraduate students were selected to receive the 2016 summer semester scholarship. Each application was required to describe a project to be completed by the student during or after the study abroad experience that will convey to other college students the advantages of studying abroad and the opportunities available through the Gilman scholarship program.
The scholarship program is funded by Congress and administered by the Institute of International Education. Named for retired congressman Benjamin A. Gilman from New York, the program was established by the International Academic Opportunity Act of 2000. Gilman retired from Congress in 2002 after serving in the House of Representatives for 30 years, including a stint as chair of the House Foreign Relations Committee. Gilman scholars may receive up to $5,000 per academic term to apply towards their study abroad or internship program costs. The program aims to diversify the students who study and intern abroad and the countries and regions where they go.
“Living and learning in a vastly different environment of another nation not only exposes our students to alternate views, but also adds an enriching social and cultural experience,” Gilman said of the study abroad experience.
“It also provides students with the opportunity to return home with a deeper understanding of their place in the world, encouraging them to be a contributor, rather than a spectator in the international community,” he added.