ABERDEEN, S.D. – This summer and fall, four Northern State University students will study abroad – and all will do so with the help of thousands of dollars in scholarship money.
Four out of four NSU students who applied for funds from the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program were awarded scholarships. The students and their funding amounts are: James “Cam” Abreu, $4,000; Yosevu KimuyuKilonzo, $5,000; Jeff Langley, $2,000; and Rachel Schipper, $1,000.
Students can receive up to $5,000 from the Gilman scholarship program, which is sponsored by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State. The amount is based on factors such as program cost and length, as well as whether students will be studying a critical need language. These are primarily non-Western languages, said Jennifer Wegleitner, academic coordinator for the NSU Center of Excellence in International Business.
KimuyuKilonzo will study the Korean language, Wegleitner said. The other students will take some language training but will primarily take courses in their major area of study, she said. All four will study in South Korea.
Langley was among 500 students selected out of more than 2,000 applications for the summer program. The other three students were among 1,200 selected of more than 2,500 applicants for the fall program.
Of five South Dakota students granted scholarships for fall, three were from Northern.
“It’s an amazing achievement for our students,” Wegleitner said.
She hopes the success will translate into more students applying for the program. NSU has direct partnerships with 48 study abroad programs in 18 countries.
KimuyuKilonzo – a senior majoring in English with minors in French, business and international studies – is no stranger to overseas travel. He has already studied once in South Korea and also in France, and he is spending the summer teaching English in Tanzania. KimuyuKilonzo, a native of Kenya who grew up in Sioux Falls, will spend a year at Hanyang University in Seoul starting this fall.
Abreu, a senior music education major from Rapid City, will spend fall semester at Hanyang University. Schipper, a junior international business major from De Smet, will attend Anyang University in Anyang, South Korea, for a year starting this fall.
Langley, a senior management major who lives in Monango, N.D., will attend Hanyang University this summer, studying international business and international marketing. Langley said he was stationed in Korea from 1993 to 1994 while serving in the U.S. Air Force. He said he wanted to return to Korea as a civilian and gain a more detailed understanding of the culture and the people. He also needed to complete a few international business-related classes and wanted to study those subjects abroad to gain a better understanding of the context of the subjects. Without the Gilman scholarship, he said, the trip would not be possible.
The same is true for Abreu. He traveled to South Korea for a short-term summer program last year and said the experience made him realize the impact studying abroad could have on his life.
“I hope that I will become much more confident in reading/speaking/listening in Hangul, the Korean language,” Abreu said. “I also hope to bring back memories of their culture, their diverse economy and different ideas about just about anything.”
Wegleitner said the benefits of studying abroad are numerous. It’s a resume-builder, she said, plus students learn self-discipline, make new friends and learn new languages and cultures.
“It really is a life-changing experience,” she said.
*Yosevu KimuyuKilonzo shown in NSU photo