International Studies major Gracie Gallegos ’18 has been awarded the prestigious Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, to study abroad during the spring 2017 semester.
The Gilman award is presented annually to only 850 American undergraduate students nationwide. This is the second consecutive year the scholarship has been awarded to an Oglethorpe student.
Gracie will attend Southwest University for Nationalities in Chengdu, China, where she will take an intensive track program to learn Mandarin (three semesters equivalent) and study Government and Politics in China.
From Marietta, Ga., Gracie serves as a U.S. Air Force ROTC Cadet (Georgia Tech). She is president of Oglethorpe’s chapter of Global Brigades, the world’s largest student-led volunteer organization that provides health and sustainable development assistance to under-served communities around the world. She has traveled to Nicaragua and Honduras as part of the program. At Oglethorpe’s 2016 Liberal Arts & Sciences Symposium, Gracie presented on the topic “Counterinsurgency in Afghanistan”.
“First and foremost, I am studying abroad to learn another language,” says Gracie. “Mandarin is one of the top critical languages in the world… As someone who is already bilingual, I really wanted to expand my skills and competitiveness in the workforce once I graduate.
“Additionally, as most other students my age, I love to travel. I figured if I am going to experience a new culture, I’d rather it be one that is completely different to my own.”“Living and learning in a vastly different environment of another nation not only exposes our students to alternate views, but also adds an enriching social and cultural experience,” says Congressman Gilman, who retired in 2002 after serving in the House of Representatives for 30 years and chairing the House Foreign Relations Committee. “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.”