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18 Win Gilman Scholarships

UCLA is on track for a record in 2008-09. The study-abroad scholarships are based on need and merit, with a preference for those with ethnic backgrounds who are interested in studying outside of Western Europe and Australia.

By Kathleen Micham

My family is very excited by the fact that I will be studying abroad in Africa.

EIGHTEEN UCLA STUDENTS learned last week that they had won prestigious Gilman scholarships for study abroad in Fall 2008, as this campus and New York University continue to top the list in numbers of recipients. Restricted to financially needy students receiving Pell Grants, the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship is sponsored by the U.S. Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs.

Brandon Walker, a fourth-year student, chose to study in Ghana because it is a developing country where the national university has an excellent history department.

"The Gilman scholarship will give me more financial freedom and allow me to experience the city of Accra, Ghana, better," Walker wrote in an email. "My family is very excited by the fact that I will be studying abroad in Africa."

The number of Gilman recipients at UCLA has grown in recent years. UCLA students won between eight and ten awards per academic year from Fall 2002 through Spring 2006, 14 in 2006–07, 18 in 2007–08, and now 18 in the fall application cycle alone. If another student applies for and receives the award in the spring cycle, UCLA will have reached another all-time high.

Vito Grillo, a counselor in UCLA’s International Education Office, actively recruits financial aid recipients and encourages them to apply since many students shy away from study abroad, thinking it beyond their reach financially. One of the students he guided through the process, Hector Zaragoza, said that he would not have considered a year in Germany otherwise.

Applicants submit their academic records, a personal statement, and a project proposal. The award decisions are made by committees of international education specialists from around the country and vary from $3,000 to $8,000. Preference goes to students with ethnic backgrounds who are interested in studying outside of Western Europe and Australia.

UCLA International Institute