SSU Student to Receive Scholarship from U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs

Anna Cheban Wins Gilman International Scholarship for Spring 2014

Studying abroad is, undeniably, an amazing opportunity for all college students. International exchange is intended to better prepare U.S. students to assume significant roles in an increasingly global economy and interdependent world. Additionally, having the opportunity to study at a university in another country allows students to boost their resumes, have access to classes not offered at Sonoma State University (SSU), possibly learn a language, in addition to learning more about themselves and discovering their future goals in life. Unfortunately, many students and parents have the misconception that studying abroad is too expensive. We at International Services hope that everyone knows that studying abroad is more affordable than you think! (In fact, some students save money studying abroad!)

It is organizations like California State University International Programs (CSU IP) and U.S. Department of State that help provide students with affordable study abroad opportunities. Through CSU IP, students pay the exact same fees as they would attending SSU, and all of their financial aid applies, (with the exception of work study.) So the only real variable as far as price is the difference in cost of living in that country. For some countries, such as Korea, Mexico, Sweden, and South Africa, students can actually save money by studying abroad! Then there are the plethora of scholarship opportunities available to students, one of the most prestigious being the Gilman International Scholarship.

The Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, offers grants for U.S. citizen undergraduate students to pursue academic studies or credit-bearing, career-oriented internships abroad. This scholarship program aims to diversify the kinds of students who study and intern abroad as well as the regions where they go. Award recipients are chosen by a competitive selection process and must use the award to defray eligible study abroad costs. These costs include program tuition, room and board, books, local transportation, insurance and international airfare. Scholarship award amounts generously range from $1,500 to $8,000. Each year about 8,500 students apply for the scholarship with 2,000 receiving the award. With this 23.5% acceptance rate, Sonoma State University is honored that one of our own was selected to receive the award for her time studying abroad in Australia Spring 2014.

Processed with VSCOcam with m5 presetAnna Cheban is a third year student of Sonoma State University. She was born in the small country of Ukraine and came to Sacramento, California at the age of 4. Growing up as the eldest of eight children helped her establish skills of leadership and an eagerness to help others. After entering SSU, she found her passion within the field of Psychology. Her love for the field strengthened as she explores the different avenues psychology has to offer through jobs and volunteering experience. During her sophomore year, Anna decided to expand her experience and applied to study in Australia through CSU International Programs. Her hopes are to explore the course of study towards becoming a licensed counseling psychologist. Her choice of university was largely based on a desire to study an internationally diverse campus. Macquarie University, her study destination, is impressively 25% international students.

As part of the scholarship, recipients are required to organize a service program that reaches out to other students. Upon returning from Australia, Anna plans to spread awareness about the possibilities of studying abroad to underrepresented groups. One of her target groups will be the students of her home community in Sacramento. She hopes to increase knowledge about opportunities such as the Gilman Scholarship to students who speak Russian and have a low family income in hopes that they too will be able to take advantage of study abroad opportunities.

If you are interested in studying abroad, the first step is to attend an Information Meeting in International Services! To stay up-to-date on opportunities and deadlines, “Like” our Facebook page:


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