Back to:
Current year's news releases

All news releases
News and information home

Third UW-Eau Claire Student Receives
Prestigious Gilman Scholarship

RELEASED: Jan. 8, 2007

EAU CLAIRE — University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire junior Rachel Berg has received a $3,000 scholarship through the prestigious Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program.

The scholarship will allow Berg, a Latin American studies major from Chippewa Falls, to study in Costa Rica from Jan. 18-May 5 at a language school called Costa Rica Study Abroad, located just outside of San Jose.

"I'm definitely looking forward to being immersed in their language and culture," Berg said of studying and living in Costa Rica. "I will stay with a host family so I'll be able to get involved in the community and day-to-day life. I think studying abroad for me, as a future Spanish teacher, will be especially beneficial. There are a lot of things textbooks don't cover and teacher's don't have time to teach in regular classes, but are important to my understanding of the language and culture."

While in Costa Rica, Berg will take two advanced Spanish courses and two courses in English. She also will complete a two-week service learning project while there.

Berg's service project will take place at a small school in a town in the mountains. The school, which has 64 children ages 5-12, has two buildings. Berg will help paint the buildings and build a fence around the school.

When Berg returns, she will make a presentation during cultural week at the Chippewa Valley Technical College about her experiences. She also will talk to freshman-level classes at UW-Eau Claire about the benefits of study abroad, her experiences, the availability of financial aid and the Gilman scholarship.

In her scholarship application essay, Berg said she chose the Costa Rica study abroad program because as a future teacher of Latin American studies and English as a Second Language, she wants to experience living in a country where the primary language is a second language for her.

"This will develop my empathy for my future ESL students and allow me to speak of Latin America with first-hand knowledge," Berg wrote in her application. "Costa Rica is a country that has experienced an influx of English speaking people and I feel that it is becoming more and more important for countries like this to be bilingual."

The Gilman Scholarship Program received nearly 2,000 applications for 400 possible awards for the 2007 spring awards cycle.

Berg is the third UW-Eau Claire student to be notified in recent weeks that she was selected for the highly competitive program. In December 2006, senior Emily Richgels of Middleton and sophomore Amanda Draxler of Marshfield received notification that they were selected as recipients. Richgels and Draxler also will study in Costa Rica as part of the Gilman program.

"This is an extremely competitive program so it speaks very well of our students that we've had multiple award winners," said Susan Lochner, study abroad coordinator. "We're seeing more and more of our students apply for and receive these kinds of scholarships. That's great for the individual students and for our campus."

To be considered for the Gilman scholarship, applicants must write a letter explaining their decision to study abroad. Applicants also must propose a service project, to be completed upon their return, to summarize their experience and promote the Gilman Scholarship.

The Gilman International Scholarship Program, established by the International Academic Opportunity Act of 2000, provides awards that allow American undergraduate students who receive federal Pell Grant funding at a two-year or four-year college or university to participate in study abroad programs worldwide. The program is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, and is administered by the Institute of International Education through its Southern Regional Center in Houston.



Back to:
Current year's news releases

All news releases
News and information home


Excellence. Our Measure. Our Motto. Our Goal.