Dec. 7, 2016
GAMBIER, Ohio — Jadah Jones ’18, an international studies major from Chicago, and Maymuna Abdi ’18, an international studies major from Hilliard, Ohio, are two of more than 850 undergraduate students nationwide selected to receive the esteemed Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs to study or intern abroad during the spring 2017 semester. Jones and Abdi will study abroad in Gaborone, Botswana, and Alsace, France, respectively.
Gilman scholars receive up to $5,000 to apply toward their study abroad costs. The program offers grants for U.S. citizen undergraduate students of limited financial means to pursue academic studies abroad. Such international exchange is intended to better prepare U.S. students to thrive in the global economy and interdependent world. The program is administered by the nonprofit organization Institute of International Education.
Jones will spend the semester studying the politics, economics, public health, language and culture of southern Africa in a program offered through the American Colleges of the Midwest.
“I always thought that to get the most out of my Kenyon education I had to get out of the country and experience another culture,” Jones said. “I have not been anywhere or exposed to anything outside of my home city. This is an amazing opportunity.”
Abdi will spend the semester at the University of Strasbourg, taking classes and serving an internship with the European Union in a program through Syracuse University Abroad. Born to Somali parents and raised in the United States, Abdi hopes to work with an organization involved in immigration, one of her special interests.
“France has a lot of immigrants from North Africa,” Abdi said. “I want to see what their environment is like, the challenges they face and how they are able to assimilate. I saw the struggle my mother went through trying to assimilate into American society.”
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 a contributor, rather than a spectator in the international community.”