UC Santa Barbara took a top spot on the U.S. Department of State’s inaugural list of large colleges and universities that sent the most students overseas on the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship program during the 2016-17 academic year.
UCSB was recognized for its success in making international study and internships more accessible and inclusive for American students of all backgrounds through the Gilman program. The State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, in collaboration with the Institute of International Education, compiles the list.
“The Education Abroad Program at UC Santa Barbara is honored to be recognized as a top producing institution of Gilman scholars,” said Juan Campo, director of UCSB’s Education Abroad Program (EAP). “Many students come to our university because of its reputation for offering excellent study abroad opportunities, but some find it difficult to afford.”
The Gilman scholarship program provides scholarships to outstanding undergraduates who, due to financial constraints, might not otherwise participate. Since the program’s inception in 2001, over 1,300 U.S. institutions have sent more than 25,000 Gilman scholars to 145 countries around the globe.
“Financing study abroad is a major challenge for many of our students,” Campo explained. “Gilman scholarships are designed to answer the need, especially among underrepresented and low-income students. Their awards range from $2,000 to $8,000, depending on location and language. With assistance provided by our staff and alumni, UCSB EAP students have made our institution one of the top recipients of these awards in the nation. It is a fantastic resource for them and helps us make study abroad possible for more students each year.
Fourth-year mechanical engineering student Bailey Wu is a case in point. As a UCSB EAP scholar, Wu studied in Germany at the Munich University of Applied Sciences. “The Gilman scholarship allowed me to fund my study abroad program and gave me the opportunity to learn new perspectives of engineering,” he said. “I was able to take many new courses while studying abroad and I was introduced to concepts I have become passionate about. It has changed how I want to approach the professional field by allowing me to explore new engineering concepts and giving me knowledge to use my engineering courses in real world applications.”
Campo describes the scholarship program as instrumental in providing EAP students with a stepping stone to the wider world and the realization of their study abroad dreams. “Indeed, it has changed their lives, while at the same time helped our campus enhance the diversity of student participants,” he said. “The knowledge, skills and enthusiasm they gain enriches the lives of all when they return. Gilman scholarships have proven to be a highly prized resource for our campus community and we look forward to continuing to encourage our students to apply for them.”
More information about the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program, including a full list of institutions by category, can be found at www.GilmanScholarship.org.