The study abroad experience looks a little different for NWU senior Sierra Smith. Smith, a recent recipient of the Gilman Scholarship, is spending her semester taking classes virtually through the University of Palermo in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
“Originally, I was supposed to be in Argentina last fall semester, but because of the pandemic I was unable to travel. The same thing happened again this semester. I was lucky enough that the university where I was accepted was fully virtual,” said, Smith. “Even though I am not in Argentina, I have still made lots of contacts and connections abroad with my classmates. They are just as excited to talk to an American as I am to talk to them.”
Smith is a Spanish and Theater Design & Technology double major at Nebraska Wesleyan. She notes that the University of Palermo is also a fine arts institution which allows her to continue her education through theatre design and art history courses.
I think being able to learn from a different culture’s point of view (especially in the arts) is very important and I would love if more people got to experience what I have
Although Smith will not be traveling to Argentina for her study abroad experience, she is enjoying her classes and appreciates that the Gilman Scholarship made the endeavor possible. The Benjamin A. Gilman Scholarship is a nationally competitive program that assists students with study abroad expenses. The program aims to diversify the students who study and intern abroad and the countries and regions where they go.
A requirement of the scholarship is that students create a “follow-on service project” that is completed upon the conclusion of their study abroad. For Smith’s project, she plans to hold an event for fellow theater majors to showcase the opportunities and benefits available to them through an abroad education. “I plan to also reach out to alumni and ask them to share experiences and how they grew in their theatrical careers from their study abroad trips. I think being able to learn from a different culture’s point of view (especially in the arts) is very important and I would love if more people got to experience what I have.”
The Gilman Scholarship is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Nearly 60 NWU students have received the Gilman Scholarship since the program began in 2001.