Three Colorado State University students have been awarded the prestigious Benjamin A. Gilman Scholarship, which aims to diversify students’ international experiences, including programs, types and locations. Mika Bernal, Danait Hailemicael and Allyson Hannah will apply their scholarships, which range from $2,000 to $5,000, to education abroad experiences during the spring semester.

The recipients:

Allyson HannahAllyson Hannah

CSU junior Allyson Hannah will study abroad in Peru in the General Language and Culture program offered by International Study Abroad (ISA), a University affiliate. Hannah chose the program because it aligned well with her major, environmental sociology with a focus on international development. Through the program, she will take a mix of Spanish language and environmental development classes. In high school, Hannah joined an exchange program that allowed her to visit Monteverde, Costa Rica, which sparked her desire to study abroad in the future. One of the biggest considerations facing Hannah as she prepares to live abroad is lymphedema, a chronic swelling condition that requires her to wear a compression garment daily. Despite challenges associated with her condition, Hannah plans on taking part in every activity she can, and she hopes that other people with chronic illnesses will see that they can follow their dreams of going abroad too. With her background in international development and environmental sustainability, Hannah hopes to someday be able to help minority populations in developing countries counteract the negative effects of climate change. Hannah was also awarded the Mona Mitchell Scholarship for Students with Disabilities from the Office of International Programs, and received a $1,500 scholarship from ISA.

Mika Bernal

Mika Bernal

Junior design and merchandise apparel major Mika Bernal will study in Seoul, South Korea, for the spring semester. As the first CSU student from her major to study in Korea, Bernal is excited to immerse herself in a culture she has been dreaming about for more than a year now. Bernal was first exposed to Korean popular culture when one of her friends introduced her to a South Korean K-pop, or Korean Pop, music group. Since then, she has joined a vast online community of people who are interested in K-pop, including people who currently live in Korea. Before signing up for her program, Bernal told her advisor about her desire to study abroad in Korea and was surprised to find out that her academic advisor was Korean. Since then, her advisor has been a great resource for her to find out more about the culture she loves so much. Bernal’s program requires her to study Korean language, and she has already started on campus. Although she is at a beginner level, she believes that she knows enough to be able to get along well enough on a day-to-day basis. Growing up in Colorado, Bernal loves hiking in the mountains and exploring the outdoors, and is looking forward to being able to explore the misty mountains of Korea while abroad. She is excited to try the unique street food from the food carts in the city, to finally meet all of the people she has met online, and to experience Korean culture up close and personal.

Danait Hailemicael

Danait Hailemicael

Danait Hailemicael, a junior economics major, will study in Rome, Italy, with CSU-affiliated Academic Programs International (API), in its International Business Studies program. Hailemicael chose Italy because she was born in Eritrea, Africa, a former Italian colony with a strong Italian influence. Hailemicael moved to Colorado when she was 2, is a first-generation college student, and has always been excited to travel the world and gain more international experience. Although she is nervous about the language barrier, Hailemicael is enrolled in an Italian language course to ease communication with locals in Italy. While studying abroad, Hailemicael will not have classes on Fridays, allowing her more freedom to travel to many of Europe’s big cities and sightsee on weekends. Despite growing up only a half hour from Denver, Hailemicael is most excited to live in a large international city and experience the diverse food and culture of Rome. Along with the Gilman scholarship, Hailemicael received $1,000 from the Office of International Programs and a $1,000 scholarship from API.

Scholarships and support

During the academic year, Student Financial Services partners with Education Abroad to offer financial aid advising and workshops for students who are considering going abroad on a study, research, internship or service-learning program. Hosted twice a semester, Gilman Scholarship Information Sessions provide students with specific application tips and helpful advice from experts in the application process. Advisers are also available to assist with essay development and feedback.

In addition to federal financial aid like the Gilman Award, the Office of International Programs awards more than $200,000 annually in need- and merit-based scholarships for education abroad, with the average scholarship recipient receiving $750. The Education Abroad office oversees programs in nearly every country around the world and provides support services to students, including advising, orientations, outreach, program coordination and risk management oversight.

For more information about education abroad opportunities and funding, visit the Education Abroad website.