The U.S. Department of State recognized Berea College as one of the U.S. higher education institutions that sent the most students overseas through the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program in academic year 2017-1018.

Berea was noted for its success in making international study and internships more accessible and inclusive for American students of all backgrounds through the Gilman program.

“It can be kind of difficult to really get that kind of experience and to learn about another culture and be immersed in the language in the language when you have to do it from the classroom,” said Simeon Huff, a Berea College Senior.

The State Department’s Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs, in collaboration with the Institute of International Education, complies the list, organized by small, medium and large four-year institutions, and associate’s colleges.

Berea College was cited for success in seven categories:

  • Top Producer: Small Colleges and Universities (less than 5,000 undergrads)
  • Top Producer: First-Generation College Students
  • Top Producer: Most Unique Destinations
  • Top Producer: Students with Disabilities
  • Top Producer: Racial and Ethnic Minority Students
  • Greatest Growth: First-Generation College Students
  • Greatest Growth: Students with Disabilities

“My favorite part about the job is working with students to help make their dreams come true,” said Ann Butwell, Berea’s Education Abroad Advisor. “Studying abroad is a dream for many college students.”

When Berea College students return to campus, they offer Gilman application workshops for fellow students. Butwell said they also fill work positions in Berea’s Center for International Education.

As a result, their influence on peers has been so great that now more students are aware of the Gilman Scholarship than they are of our many other scholarships.

“I had such a transformational experience and to know that all it required was my passion for that place,” said Deshontanae Davis, a Berea College junior.

The Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program, with the support of the U.S. Congress, is reshaping study abroad to make it more accessible and inclusive for American students.

“I wouldn’t trade that experience for anything. Money comes and goes because it is temporary, but the experiences last forever,” said Gerald Thomas, another Berea College student.

The Gilman Program broadens the U.S. student population studying and interning abroad by providing scholarships to outstanding undergraduates who, due to financial constraints, might not otherwise participate.

“It was a huge stress that was taken off and I really got to live,” said Davis. “I really got to experience the culture and my service to others,” she added.

Since the program’s establishment in 2001, more than 28,000 Gilman scholars have studied in nearly 150 countries.