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Patel Awarded Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship


(Information courtesy Institute of International Education)

JONESBORO – Raj N. Patel of Bryant, a junior Honors student in interdisciplinary studies at Arkansas State University, is one of more than 250 American undergraduate students from 140 colleges and universities selected to receive the prestigious Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) to study or intern abroad during the summer 2016 application cycle.

Patel is using the award to study abroad with the A-State summer program at Saitama University in Japan in June and July. He is an Honors student who plans to graduate in 2017 with a degree in interdisciplinary studies then attend physical therapy school.

"What I hope to learn in Japan expands beyond simply the language and their culture, although these are certainly significant factors," Patel said.  "I hope to acquire the tools of adapting to a completely different culture and language as well as a broader mindset . . . and an increased tolerance and understanding of things that are dramatically different from what I already know or have experienced."

Gilman scholars receive up to $5,000 to apply toward their study abroad or internship program costs. The program aims to diversify the students who study and intern abroad and the countries and regions where they go. Scholarship recipients have the opportunity to gain a better understanding of other cultures, countries, languages, and economies, making them better prepared to assume leadership roles within government and the private sector.

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.”

The program is administered by the Institute of International Education (IIE). According to Allan Goodman, president and CEO of IIE, “International education is one of the best tools for developing mutual understanding and building connections between people from different countries. It is critical to the success of American diplomacy and business, and the lasting ties that Americans make during their international studies are important to our country in times of conflict as well as times of peace.”

The U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs’ (ECA) mission is to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries by means of educational and cultural exchanges that assist in the development of peaceful relations.

The Institute of International Education (IIE) is the world leader in the international exchange of people and ideas. An independent, nonprofit organization founded in 1919, the Institute is the world’s most experienced global higher education and professional exchange organization.

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