Gilman scholarship supports study abroad opportunities

 students stand in front of and on top of a Manuel Antonio National Park
TWU students on the nursing program trip to Costa Rica visited the Manuel Antonio National Park, known for its diverse wildlife and plant life.

July 12, 2023 — DENTON There’s no way a textbook can replicate the experience Jacqueline Bennett had on her recent 10-day trip to Costa Rica.

The Texas Woman’s senior nursing student spent half her time exploring the Central American country’s lush rainforests, beautiful beaches and aromatic coffees and the other half performing health examinations on patients in a women’s prison and tending to children in an orphanage.

Ditto for fellow nursing students Anh Nguyen and Olawunmi Onile-Ere when they visited Vietnam this summer and the seniors got to explore cultures in North and South Vietnam, visit universities and hospitals, and conduct health screenings for people in a small village.

Bennett, Nguyen and Onile-Ere were among eight Texas Woman’s students that recently returned from unique TWU Education Abroad faculty-led trips. Besides the excursions to Vietnam and Costa Rica, students also attended education abroad activities in France and Belgium, thanks in part to scholarships from the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship program.

Nguyen, Onile-Ere, Christine Obaze, and Mai Truong traveled with the TWU Nursing in Vietnam program, while Bennett experienced the TWU Nursing and Healthcare Costa Rica trip. Alana Douglas, Mikenna Rainwater and Adrian Theisen visited France and Belgium with the TWU Global Perspectives in Deafness in Europe program.

student in TWU gray shirt checks blood pressure of a woman sitting at a desk
TWU nursing student checks blood pressure of a patient in Costa Rica.

These eight travelers are now among a cohort of 29 TWU students who have received this scholarship in the last 20 years. They received a total of $29,500 from the U.S. Department of State during the 2022-23 school year to fund their education abroad programs. 

The Gilman Scholarship is a nationally competitive study abroad scholarship that helps students who study or participate in internships abroad by supporting undergraduates who might not otherwise participate due to financial constraints. 

“My trip was significant in the sense that we were able to experience firsthand what the hospital setting was like in Vietnam,” Nguyen said. “The trip was relatively expensive and the Gilman scholarship covered most of my costs for attending the trip. I was able to travel and at least be able to not worry about my finances on the trip. Traveling abroad is an expensive venture in general and not having to worry about finances while having our busy schedule in Vietnam made the trip significantly more enjoyable for me.”

Bennett’s program focused on Costa Rican culture and society as well as healthcare and nursing. 

“Overall, the trip was very focused on giving back to the community and those in need,” Bennett said. “The Gilman scholarship made this experience possible for me. I am a first-generation college student. Gilman took the financial burden of this trip off of me. The trip had a huge impact on my view of my life as a whole.”

Douglas spent 10 days in France and Belgium, exploring the historic sites, visiting schools for the Deaf and learning French and Flemish sign language. The tour was guided by local Deaf guides who used sign language as the primary means of communication. 

“Without the Gilman Scholarship it would have been impossible for me to attend this once-in-a- lifetime opportunity,” Douglas said. “During my time abroad, I was able to improve my language skills and fully immerse myself with the different sign languages and the different communities and culture of the countries I was in.”


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Page last updated 10:32 AM, July 18, 2023