WASHINGTON, PA (April 25, 2014)—Two Washington & Jefferson (W&J) College juniors are spending the semester studying in France and Chile respectively, recipients of Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarships.
Emily Payne from Pittsburgh, Pa. and a graduate of Brentwood High School, a sociology and French double major, and Logan Kinney, an international business and Spanish double major from LaFayette, N.Y., are each abroad for the first time.
Gilman Scholarships are designed to help support undergraduate students interested in studying abroad, particularly those majoring in areas that have been traditionally under-represented in study abroad.
Payne is studying at the University of Paul-Valery in Montpellier, France, founded in 1289 and one of the oldest universities in Europe. She is taking courses in French grammar and history of art as part of its American Exchange Program and an additional couple of sociology courses that will transfer and go towards her major at W&J. She left for France Jan. 2 and returns at the end of May. “It’s been an amazing experience. There are some days where the language barrier is rough and you completely embarrass yourself. And then there are other days where you meet people in the street, on the tram, at school, and just strike up a conversation, and then the desire to keep learning French is really strong,” Payne said. “I’m enjoying every minute I have in France.”
She hopes to eventually attend graduate school and expects her time abroad to be invaluable to her future academic and professional goals.
“After I graduate, I really want to put my capabilities in French to use. My French professor has encouraged me to apply for the Fulbright Award to teach English in France for a year after I finish my undergraduate degree. Having the experience from a semester abroad will provide me with a working knowledge of life in another country and give me the French skills necessary to be able to teach English to French students. I know studying abroad will give me experiences, memories, and educational lessons to last a lifetime, which certainly trumps all doubts,” Payne said.
Kinney starts classes on Monday and will be studying business and economics in the International School of Business at the University of Valparaiso in Valparaiso, Chile.
“I was very excited to learn I had received the scholarship,” he said. “I am looking forward to the opportunity to stay with a host family, to embrace myself in the language and culture. All my classes are in Spanish. I am more excited than nervous.”
Kinney is scheduled to return in mid-July.
He hopes to attend law school and study sports law following graduation. With hopes of becoming a baseball agent, his “dream (law) school is UCLA,” he said.
The Gilman Scholarship is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. During this application cycle, the Gilman Scholarship Program reviewed more than 2,600 applications for more than 700 awards.
“W&J has had the honor of having a number of students be awarded Gilman Scholarships over the last few years. It is a nationally competitive scholarship, so it’s great to see our students rise to the challenge. We are very proud of Logan and Emily and wish them a meaningful and academically successful semester abroad,” said Sara Kochuba, director of study abroad at W&J.