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Dordt students awarded Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship to study abroad

June 2, 2014

Two Dordt students were selected out of an applicant pool of more than 2,700 students to receive the prestigious Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship, sponsored by the United States Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Approximately 800 students from the United States were selected. Gilman Scholars receive up to $5,000 to apply toward their fall 2014 study abroad program costs. 

Courtney Bjorklund will study with the Uganda Studies Program (USP), completing her social work practicum. The USP social work practicums focus on issues such as at-risk youth and HIV/AIDS. Bjorklund is from Buffalo, Minnesota, and is a senior majoring in social work.

Marisa Broersma will participate in the China Studies Program where she will be immersed in the culture, learning the language and the customs of China. She will also be completing a business internship. Broersma is from Sunnyside, Washington, and is a junior majoring in international business.

“The Gilman International Scholarship provides an excellent opportunity for students to study abroad, specifically to non-Western countries where students will inevitably experience deep cultural differences,” says Linda Schroedermeier, Dordt College coordinator of international student and off-campus programs. “The destinations our students have chosen will help them build relationships and understanding in a context that is very different from North America.”

Congressman Gilman, who retired in 2002 after serving in the House of Representatives for 30 years and chairing the House Foreign Relations Committee, said, “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 contributors, rather than spectators in the international community.”

Dordt College has 33 students currently participating on off-campus and study abroad summer programs to Korea, the Netherlands, United Kingdom (Oxford University), Puerto Rico, Spain, and Zambia. Others are studying at Au Sable Institute in both the Great Lakes region and the Pacific Rim. The college will send 22 students to locations that include Nicaragua, Korea, the Middle East, Spain, and more in the fall semester.

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