Lewis Wins Gilman Scholarship to Study Abroad
Posted on January 31, 2023
Tianna Lewis, a junior at the University of South Alabama, has won a prestigious 2023 Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship to study abroad this spring in La Mancha, Spain.
The scholarship Lewis received is for $3,500 from the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.
“It doesn’t feel real. It hasn’t hit me yet that I’m studying in Spain,” Lewis said. “I am enjoying the experience and embracing the culture.”
The Gilman Scholarship is a cultural exchange program, which is open to undergraduates nationwide. The scholarship program was created to help more U.S. students gain opportunities to live abroad while studying or interning.
Lewis is double majoring in chemical engineering and modern and classical languages and literature with a concentration in Spanish.
“The scholarship is extremely competitive, especially because anyone in the U.S. can apply. The process is tedious, yet doable,” she said. “There are three essays you have to write. The essays include a personal statement, building mutual understanding, and a follow-on service project. Each essay has multiple questions that you have to answer to show the reviewers why you want to study abroad.”
Lewis said she wants to study abroad to “become fluent in Spanish, but also to experience a
culture outside of my own. I want to see how others outside of the U.S live and gain a different perspective about the people and places around me.”
Shawn Dillard, assistant director at the Office of International Education and Study Abroad, mentored and supported Lewis throughout the process.
"Tianna modeled excellence during her application process,” she said. “I am extremely proud of her accomplishments. She put in the work, and it paid off.”
Dr. Bri Ard, executive director of Global Engagement at South Alabama, said Lewis was thoughtful and purpose-driven in her application.
“I could not be prouder of Tianna for receiving this award,” Ard said. “I am very confident that she will be a wonderful representative of the University during her time in Spain.”
Lewis said she is looking forward to sharing her experience with other students and encouraging them to study abroad.
“To students who are considering studying abroad, go to the study abroad office! The office is full of amazing and helpful people who will support you,” said Lewis. “Before going to the office, studying abroad was only a thought in the back of my mind. They helped me see study abroad as a real opportunity. I am excited to be having this amazing experience in Spain.”
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