The U.S. Department of State is pleased to announce that Patrik Schuler, from the Industrial Engineering department at Clemson University is one of 1,201 American undergraduate students from 363 colleges and universities across the United States selected to receive the prestigious Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship to study or intern abroad during the summer of 2018. The complete list of students who have been selected to receive Gilman Scholarships this term, including students’ home state, university and host country, is available on the website: gilmanscholarship.org.
Gilman Scholars receive up to $5,000 to apply towards their study abroad or internship program costs with additional funding available for the study of a critical language overseas. The Gilman Scholarship supports American undergraduate students of limited financial means to study or intern abroad and, since 2001, has enabled more than 25,000 outstanding Americans of diverse backgrounds to engage in a meaningful educational experience abroad. The program has successfully broadened U.S. participation in study abroad, while emphasizing countries and regions where fewer Americans traditionally study. Students thereby gain skills critical to our national security and economic competitiveness.
Patrik Schuler, an IE undergraduate, will spend five weeks in Germany this summer through the Gilman scholarship. The first three weeks will be in western Germany in Aaachen, and the final two weeks will be to the far east in Leipzig.
“I found out about the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship through one of the members of the Student Veterans Assocation (SVA). The SVA has connected me with resources that I keep using as I transitioned out of the Marine Corps,” said Schuler.
As he began to pursue the scholarship, he sought out the Clemson Abroad office to aid in the process of applying. “Yuki Hirose, a Clemson Abroad Coordinator, was an incredible help. I was initially hesitant to apply for this scholarship, but she convinced me to go for it and helped me every step along the way.”
Beyond seeking campus resources, Schuler had readied himself for the experience and learning curve he would face in Germany.
“I studied in German for several years in high school and have taken a few classes in college,” said Schuler. “This program has been an opportunity to learn outside of just the classroom. It allows students to learn German together and then go apply it in the real world.”
The late Congressman Gilman, for whom the scholarship is named, served in the House of Representatives for 30 years and chaired the House Foreign Relations Committee. When honored with the Secretary of State’s Distinguished Service Medal in 2002, he commented, “Living and learning in a vastly different environment of another nation not only exposes our students to alternate views, but 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.”
Schuler reflects this understanding. “This experience so far has allowed me to learn more than a language; I am able to experience two different cultures. Cultures are different from each state to each nation, and reading cannot capture what these differences feel like. This course has allowed me to see the effects of history on this country.”
Now that Schuler is two weeks into the Gilman and balancing time between intense German courses and an IE class that he is taking on the side, he says he has enjoyed trying all the local dishes. Schuler will return to Clemson University this August, and is set to graduate in May 2019.
The Gilman Program is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and is supported in its implementation by the Institute of International Education (IIE).
The U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs’ (ECA) mission is to build relations between the people of the United States and the people of other countries through academic, cultural, sports, professional and private exchanges, as well as public-private partnerships and mentoring programs. These exchange programs improve foreign relations and strengthen the national security of the United States. ECA programs, funding, and other activities encourage the involvement of American and international participants from traditionally underrepresented groups, including women, racial and ethnic minorities, and people with disabilities. Artists, educators, athletes, students, youth and rising leaders in the United States and more than 160 countries around the globe participate in academic, cultural, sports, and professional exchanges. For more information about ECA programs, initiatives, and achievements, visit eca.state.gov.
The Institute of International Education (http://www.iie.org/) works with policymakers, educators and employers across the globe to prepare students and professionals for the global workforce and equip them to solve the increasingly complex challenges facing our interconnected world. An independent, not-for-profit organization founded in 1919, IIE has a network of 18 offices and affiliates worldwide, and over 1,300 member institutions.