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Two Students Awarded Prestigious
Gilman International Scholarships

RELEASED: Jan. 17, 2008

EAU CLAIRE — Two University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire students have received $5,000 scholarships to study abroad this spring semester through the prestigious Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program.

Rebecca Mai Tamar Reim
Rebecca Mai
Tamar Reim

Sophomore Rebecca Mai, Kaukauna, will visit the Czech Republic through the International Student Exchange Program, ISEP-Direct. Junior Tamar Reim, Vernon, British Columbia, will study in Germany through a UW-Eau Claire program at the Institute for German Language and Culture in Wittenberg.

Mai, a comprehensive social studies education major, will enroll in the Central European Studies Program hosted by Masaryk University in the city of Brno in the Czech Republic. She plans to share her experiences in Eastern Europe with her future middle or high school students.

"In my opinion, Eastern Europe is one the most beautiful, historic and fascinating regions in the world," said Mai. "It's not a popular place to visit, but I wanted to go someplace different I'm very excited about doing additional travel throughout Eastern Europe to learn all I can."

For her Gilman project, Mai will use journals, photos and other artifacts to create a presentation she can present at study abroad fairs. She will include academic, cultural and social information, as well as personal stories in her project so she can serve as a student mentor to future study abroad students.

"My study abroad coordinator has told me there are already other students thinking about going to the Czech Republic, so I feel that I would be a great source of information," said Mai. "I hope my experiences will encourage other students to broaden their horizons, take risks and be adventurous."

Reim is a special education major with minors in German education and music. After teaching beginning German to first- through seventh-graders, she decided to study in Germany to become more fluent in its language and culture, she said. UW-Eau Claire's study abroad program in Wittenberg, Germany, includes a semester of intermediate-level courses taught in German. Reim is excited the classes are taught at the same university where Martin Luther once taught.

"I am very interested in the history of Martin Luther, and this particular study abroad program will allow me to visit many historical sites relating to Luther," said Reim.

Reim said she strongly believes that it's important to learn about different cultures and respect different views. As a teacher, she hopes to instill these values in her students, she said.

To help achieve that goal, Reim has created a Web quest for use in elementary schools. Students can use the site to plan a trip to Germany, which requires them to research German food, climate, geography, exchange rates, cultural practices and travel options.

"Included in the Web quest will be a blog that I will update while I am in Germany," said Reim. "Students can ask me questions, read about my experiences and look at my pictures. The blog portion of the Web quest will allow my project to be used in a high school setting."

For the service-learning portion of her experience, Reim will volunteer in a music school.

"This will give me the fantastic opportunity to interact with more German-speaking people and learn new music education techniques," Reim said.

When she returns, Reim will make presentations in classrooms that used her Web quest.

Mai and Reim are the fourth and fifth UW-Eau Claire students to be notified in the past year that they were selected for the Gilman Scholarship program. The program received 1,369 applications for 400 possible awards for the 2008 spring awards cycle.

"This is a 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."

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.

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NW/JB

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