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SANTA BARBARA – On Oct. 6, 2022, the U.S. Department of State recognized Santa Barbara City College (SBCC) as one of the U.S. colleges and universities that sent the most scholars abroad through the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program during the academic year 2020-2021. The Gilman Scholarship expands access and equity in study abroad and international internship opportunities among U.S. undergraduate students with high financial need.
“In recognizing the top institutions with students studying abroad as Gilman Scholars, the United States continues to prioritize its commitment to provide access and equity to international experiences for all Americans,” said Lee Satterfield, Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs.
At the height of the COVID-19 global health pandemic, which created severe obstacles for students to study abroad and participate in international educational exchanges, the Gilman Scholarship was able to support nearly 800 Gilman Scholars from 48 U.S. states and territories to study or intern, both in-person and virtually, in 77 locations around the world.
The Gilman competition is administered at SBCC through its Study Abroad Program and Program Advisor Nicole Walther. SBCC was one of the first among community colleges in California to create comprehensive semester abroad programs, developing an outstanding reputation, and achieving state and national recognition for excellence and quality of programs. The programs are faculty-led and change every year. The subject-specific programs allow faculty to bring their lectures to life with relevant excursions in the destination country and offer experiential learning to SBCC students.
Upcoming Study Abroad programs include Rome, Italy, in Spring 2023 to study English, personal development and Italian language. Summer 2023 offers two programs: one in Tokyo, Japan, to study communication and film studies, and one in Costa Rica to study Spanish grammar, beginning surfing and stretching and relaxation. The Fall 2023 program will take students to Bali, Indonesia, to study marine biology, oceanography, sociology and anthropology.
“We are honored to receive this recognition from the Department of State, and proud that through our program and the Gilman Scholarship, the desire to study abroad can become a reality for our low-income and disproportionately impacted students. The scholarship is very competitive, so to be selected reflects their commitment to learn about other cultures and engage with others throughout the world,” said Walther.
Additionally, the Gilman Program helps these students gain the professional skills, language abilities and knowledge needed for successful careers. The high academic performing and socio-economically diverse American undergraduate students who study overseas with support from the Gilman Program also build international relationships and foster mutual understanding. Since the program’s inception in 2001, more than 35,000 Gilman Scholars from all U.S. states, Puerto Rico and other U.S. territories have studied or interned in more than 155 countries around the globe.
The Gilman Scholarship is a public diplomacy program of the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, and is implemented by the Institute of International Education (IIE). To learn more about the Gilman Scholarship and how its diverse alumni pursue meaningful careers in the public, non-profit and private sectors, visit www.gilmanscholarship.org.