K Staffer’s Honors Reflect Insight on More-Affordable Study Abroad

Study abroad and international student adviser Asia Bennett
is an inaugural Gilman Scholarship ambassador, showing she
can help Pell Grant-eligible students make
study abroad more affordable.

If you’re concerned that the cost of study abroad might prevent you from going overseas as an undergraduate, you have an advocate in Kalamazoo College’s Center for International Programs.

As an inaugural Gilman ambassador over the next two years, study abroad and international student adviser Asia Bennett will inform and advise colleagues at U.S. colleges and universities about the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program. In that role, awarded to her this month, Bennett will share her expertise and best practices across the country, while also continuing to guide students at K in the Gilman application process.

Since 2001, the Gilman scholarship has given more than 33,000 students with limited financial means up to $5,000 to study or intern abroad through the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Those students include between three and five K students for each of the past eight years.

“I think serving as an ambassador can help me debunk the idea that studying abroad has to be expensive,” Bennett said. “This is part of what our office does. We can let students know about scholarship opportunities so study abroad can be more affordable.”

By awarding funds competitively to students with limited financial means, the Gilman program assures that students from traditionally underrepresented groups will participate in study abroad opportunities. Applicants must be U.S. citizens, undergraduate students in good standing at their institutions and federal Pell Grant recipients.

By going abroad, Gilman recipients develop skills critical to national security and economic prosperity.

“I think a lot of our students count themselves out,” Bennett said. “They see the Gilman Award is a big national scholarship. They might think it’s not for them because it’s too competitive. I can help students see that they too can apply. I hope to be that voice and that face of the Gilman here on campus so students are more eager to apply.”

Students interested in applying for the Gilman International Scholarship can contact Bennett for application coaching, essay tips and more information at Asia.Bennett@kzoo.edu.