Sarah Slater ’15, a junior at Houghton College double majoring in business and international development, is one of over 850 American undergraduate students from 324 colleges and universities across the U.S. selected to receive the prestigious Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Slater will study abroad in Romania during the fall 2013 academic year.
Slater will be attending the Romanian Semester, which is a program run by Northwestern College in Iowa. While there (Romania), she will be taking classes in sustainable development and Romanian history and culture, along with studying the Romanian language and Eastern Orthodoxy.
Marcus Dean, professor of intercultural studies at Houghton College, assisted with the confirmation process for Slater. “Sarah is an outstanding student who is focused on preparing for development work in eastern Europe,” said Dean. “The Gilman Scholarship award is well deserved. Her semester program provides unique opportunities to see and learn in an off-the-beaten-path part of the world.”
As part of the scholarship program, each recipient must complete a “Follow-on Service Project and Report” that promotes international education and the overall scholarship program. To satisfy this requirement, Slater will be participating in an internship with the nonprofit organization, New Horizons. She will be assisting by writing a business plan to help determine if New Horizons should open a climbing gym in the town of Lupeni, where their headquarters is located. Additionally, she will also be working alongside their accountant to learn about the fiscal operations of a nonprofit organization.
Sponsored by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State, the Gilman Scholarship Program aims to broaden the student population that studies overseas by supporting undergraduates who might not otherwise participate due to financial constraints. Award recipients are chosen by a competitive selection process and must use the award to defray eligible study abroad costs.
Slater was awarded $3000, meeting her financial needs for the trip. “I'm really grateful to have gotten the scholarship,” said Slater. “It's good to know that I can go to Romania without it being a burden to my family.”
Congressman Gilman, who retired in 2002 after serving in the House of Representatives for 30 years and chairing the House Foreign Relations Committee, commented, “Study abroad is a special experience for every student who participates. 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. It also provides our students with the opportunity to return home with a deeper understanding of their place in the world, encouraging them to be contributors, rather than spectators, in the international community.”