Gilman Scholarship Awarded to English Major

January 23, 2015

Raleigh Joyner, a junior English and German double major, was recently selected as a recipient of the Benjamin A. Gilman Scholarship.

Since he was a freshman, Raleigh planned on studying abroad in Germany but the finances were always a concern. In order to alleviate that expense, Raleigh searched for and applied to various scholarship programs. Raleigh credits his award from the Gilman International Scholarship to his unique project proposal, informational sessions on LGBT study abroad experiences, which showcased his individual passions and distinguished him from other applicants.

Gilman LogoThe Gilman Scholarship is a highly competitive federally funded program offering grants to “students of limited financial means to pursue academic studies or credit-bearing, career-oriented internships abroad.”1 The program was created to broaden the population of students with international experience, which Congressman Benjamin A. Gilman credits as a source for “enriching social and cultural experience… [providing students] with a deeper understanding of their place in the world.” Recipients of the grant receive up to $5,000 toward the cost of courses or internship programs abroad.

Raleigh’s recommendation to aspiring study abroad scholars? “Start early and get feedback from the experts.” As all English majors know, early planning and revision of an essay or application is key to writing a winning product. In addition, Raleigh’s application was significantly helped by the support of advisors in Education Abroad and UMD’s National Scholarship Office.  Both offices have extensive experience with scholarship applications and work closely with students to help develop competitive applications. Due to this expertise, UMD has the highest award rate for the Gilman Scholarship in the DC-MD area.

Finally, Raleigh advises students to apply “even if you’ve been rejected by a slew of scholarship funds in the past.” Raleigh himself was rejected by DAAD, a study abroad scholarship specific to Germany, before applying for and receiving the Gilman award.