ATLANTA — Francis Mwangi, a sophomore studying actuarial science at Georgia State University, is one of over 250 American undergraduate students from 140 colleges and universities across the U.S. 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 to study or intern abroad during the Summer 2016 Application cycle. Mwangi will participate in a summer exchange in Denmark through the Georgia State University J. Mack Robinson College of Business and Copenhagen Business School.
Mwangi, a handball fan, has been fascinated with the idea of going to Copenhagen since he was a young boy. “As a primary school pupil in rural Kenya, geography was my favorite subject. I loved learning all about the different nations and societies in our world. But I was especially enamored with the Nordic way of doing things.” He continued, “On a personal note, I am so excited to visit the Handball capital of the World, as well as famed Copenhagen handball arena Brøndby Hall.”
“I am so grateful to the Honors College for not only bringing the Gilman Scholarship to my attention, but for the hands-on support I received through national scholarship and fellowship advising. I would not be able to go abroad if it were not for receiving the Gilman Scholarship. Receiving this award is truly live changing.”
Gilman scholars receive up to $5,000 to apply towards 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. Students receiving a Federal Pell Grant from two- and four-year institutions who will be studying abroad or participating in a career-oriented international internship for academic credit are eligible to apply. 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. 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.”
The program is administered by the Institute of International Education (IIE). The full list of students who have been selected to receive Gilman Scholarships, including students’ home state, university and host country, is available on their website. 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.”