Author Archives: Gilman Scholarship

About Gilman Scholarship

The Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship program is an undergraduate grant program for U.S. citizens of limited financial means to enable them to study abroad, thereby internationalizing their outlook and better preparing them to assume significant roles in the increasingly global economy. The Gilman Scholarship is a program of the U.S. Department of State, supported in its implementation by IIE. The program seeks participation by the broadest group of students from across the United States who have financial need and will benefit from the knowledge and skills they acquire when studying abroad. By supporting undergraduate students who have high financial need, the program has been successful in supporting students who have been historically underrepresented in education abroad, including but not limited to first-generation college students, students in STEM fields, ethnic minority students, students with disabilities, students attending HBCUs or other minority-serving institutions, students attending community colleges, and students coming from U.S. states with less study abroad participation. The program seeks to assist students from a diverse range of public and private institutions from all 50 states, Washington, DC and Puerto Rico. The program aims to encourage students to study and intern in a diverse array of countries and world regions. The program also encourages students to study languages, especially critical need languages (those deemed important to national security and diplomacy). Award recipients are chosen by a competitive selection process and must use the award to defray eligible study or intern abroad costs. These costs may include program tuition, room and board, books, local transportation, insurance and international airfare. Eligibility To be eligible for a Gilman Scholarship, an applicant must: -Be a citizen of the United States; -Be an undergraduate student in good standing at an accredited institution of higher education in the United States; -Be receiving a Federal Pell Grant or provide proof that he/she will be receiving a Pell Grant during the term of his/her study abroad program or internship; -Be in the process of applying to, or accepted for, a study abroad or internship program approved for academic credit by the student’s home institution for up to one academic year. (Note: Minimum period of study in a single country of at least two weeks for community college students and four weeks for students from four-year institutions.) Proof of program acceptance is required prior to award disbursement; and Note: Applicants will be pre-screened to ensure their program of choice is in a country not currently under a Travel Warning issued by the United States Department of State or otherwise determined ineligible for program participation. Students applying to Mexico may only apply for scholarships to support study in Mexican states where no advisory is in effect according to the U.S. Department of State Travel Warning list. More information is available on our website,

Let Your Voice Be Heard: Apply to be a Gilman Alumni Ambassador

Gilman Alumni Ambassador Lea Gober reflects on her experience sharing her study abroad journey with students and the international education community. 

The Gilman Scholarship opened my mind, my connections, and my career prospects to an international spectrum of possibilities. Since my return from studying abroad in London during the 2009-2010 academic school year, I have made it a personal mission to promote the importance of international education. This especially rings true in promoting the importance of international education within low income and communities of color.



Lea Gober studying abroad in London, England in 2009-2010.


This 2016-2017 academic school year, I had the opportunity to participate in the Gilman Alumni Ambassador program. Through this program I was able to provide my testimony on the impact a global education can have on your career, self development, and contribution to society. I spoke at a study abroad seminar held at Barnard College, and at a Gilman advisor workshop held at the Institute of International Education New York office.

The Gilman advisor workshop was my most memorable experience. I spoke directly with approximately 40 faculty and staff members from universities around the country. My presentation focused on how Gilman affected my life and the critical value of helping low income and students of color pursue study abroad experiences. This exchange helped the attendees feel empowered to better assist these student demographics.



Lea speaking to Gilman advisors at a workshop in New York in 2017.


I really appreciated their earnest interest in solving how more students could participate in study abroad. Collectively we knew cost was a significant barrier for many first generation college students. I spoke with one attendee, a law professor who was doubling as the International Education Advisor at a small college in Brooklyn. At this institution many of the students are first generation college students who, like myself, faced financial insecurity. Remembering my own apprehensions with funding my program, I could certainly relate to the concerns of the students. I provided my first hand account on how I funded my study abroad, which included additional scholarships outside of receiving Gilman. Seeing someone like me who resembles their students showed advisors the possibility of making global education a reality for their scholars.

I fully recommend participating in the Gilman Alumni Ambassador program. Not only was I able to get the word out about Gilman and network with other international education enthusiasts, I had the opportunity to develop my public speaking skills. This is a great opportunity for anyone- from students newly returning from abroad to a veteran like myself who studied abroad 7 years ago. Apply and let your voice be heard!

Gilman Alumni Ambassador applications are now open! Apply here by July 24.

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Gilman Alumni Spotlight: Everett Elam

Gilman Scholar Everett Elam was first inspired to study abroad after hearing a Gilman Scholar’s Follow-on Service Project presentation at the University of Arkansas, Little Rock. As a blind student studying music and the Spanish language, Everett was interested in exploring the rich musical culture of Spain, and improving his Spanish speaking skills. While abroad, Everett stayed with a host family and took intensive language courses. He also immersed himself in the traditional Spanish music community by participating in gatherings of musicians and learning new techniques to play on the fiddle.



Everett and his girlfriend Emily with their fiddles in Salamanca, Spain. 


Since returning from his experience abroad, Everett has become an outspoken advocate of study abroad for students with disabilities. He has presented about his study abroad experience and the Gilman Scholarship to numerous groups in his community, and created an “abroadcast:” an audio-story about studying abroad that transports the listener to Spain how Everett experienced it: through sound.



Are you a Gilman alumni with a story to share? E-mail to share it with us!

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Filed under Alumni Spotlights, Western Europe

Gilman Alumni Spotlight: Anthony Latta, 2001

We are excited to announce that the Gilman Global Experience Blog will now feature stories from Gilman alumni! Our first alumni post is from Gilman scholar Anthony Latta, who studied abroad in Russia in 2001, the first year of Gilman Scholarship recipients. Read how Gilman has played a critical role in his career over the past 15 years. 

Are you a Gilman alumni with a story to share? E-mail for more information. 

Becoming a Gilman scholar was important for my ability to study abroad from 2001 to 2002 in Moscow and made my career possible. As a first-generation college student, I had resources through student loans and grants to fund my education, but I did not have the resources to fund study abroad, which was considerably more expensive than my in-state tuition at Texas Tech. The Gilman Scholarship made it possible for me to study abroad.

I cannot express how important studying Russian in Moscow for that academic year was. I went from intermediate to high level fluency. In fact, when my parents visited Moscow in March 2002, Russians spoke to my parents in Russian because Muscovites assumed that I had learned Russian at home. The only way I reached this level of fluency was by living with a Russian host family and studying the language for five days a week. The Gilman Scholarship made that possible.



Anthony with Peter the Great in Izmailovo, Moscow in 2001.


Anthony in Sevastopol in 2001.


My fluency in Russian helped me get into graduate school at American University, where I received an MA in International Affairs in 2006. My fluency in Russian then helped me get a job at a large USAID (United States Agency for International Development) implementing partner in 2007, where I initially supported USAID-funded projects in Russian, Ukraine, and Kazakhstan. Since 2007, I have received opportunities to travel in the former Soviet Union and have grown professionally. While I no longer use Russian language on a daily basis in my job, my ability to speak and read Russian was instrumental in getting the job that has led to my professional success. In fact, this year my language skills give me credibility when I interviewed for a corporate ops job supporting operations in Latin America, Africa, and Eurasia. My language skills showed that I have a professional and personal interest in running programs abroad.

While my spoken Russian language skills today are no match for 2002, I continue to read books in Russian – and translate Russian jokes into English for my wife, much to her chagrin. I have now spoken Russian longer than I have not, and I cannot imagine my life without the language. In fact, as I write this paragraph, I look at the chalkboard in my office, on which I’ve written snippets of Russian sayings.

For anyone interested in achieving high fluency in a foreign language, I sincerely hope that the Gilman Scholarship can help you reach that. In my job as a hiring manager, foreign-language fluency and cultural awareness that fluency and studying abroad affords are necessary and set individuals apart. That is how I have achieved professional success, and I believe it will continue to do so for others.

And for all of this, I truly thank the Gilman Scholarship.



Anthony on one of his later visits to Russia.

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Filed under Alumni Spotlights, Eastern Europe