Two California State University, Long Beach (CSULB) students received prestigious Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarships which allowed them to spend the spring semester studying abroad.
Junior Kathy Tran was at City University of Hong Kong studying international business and Chinese. Senior Sienne Diaz will be finishing her bachelor’s of fine arts degree studying at the University of Hertfordshire in England.
Tran and Diaz are among just 800 undergraduate students from more than 320 colleges and universities nationwide to receive the scholarship, sponsored by the U.S. State Department. The program provides financial support for students who might not otherwise be able to afford to study abroad.
“The goal of the Gilman Scholarship program is for U.S. students to assume significant roles in an increasingly global economy and interdependent world,” said Linda Olson Levy, CSULB’s advisor for education abroad and international scholarships.
Both Diaz and Tran have studied abroad before. Last summer, Tran traveled to China for an Asian studies class and then took a culture class in Cambodia. Her experiences left her wanting to participate in a longer study abroad program.
“No matter whether you have a 4.0 or the best teacher recommendations, nothing compares to having the full experience of being overseas,” said Tran, who is working on a double major in international business and Chinese and a minor in Spanish. “When you are overseas, your view of the world changes drastically.”
Diaz also traveled to Cambodia after receiving a scholarship established by CSULB President F. King Alexander for the Art and Social Action short-term study abroad program. There, Diaz designed and taught art lessons for girls who had been rescued from sex trafficking operations. In England, Diaz focused on refining her art skills.
“Hertfordshire has a prestigious program comparable to the illustration program at CSULB,” said Diaz who recently completed her bachelor’s degree in art education at CSULB and plans to get her single-subject credential in art after finishing her bachelor’s in fine arts.