The Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Programrecently announced recipients of their competitive study abroad grants for spring 2013 and sophomore Yolandri Vargas was proud and grateful to be among them.
Double majoring in sociology and gender studies, Vargas will spend next semester studying Urban and Rural Sociology and Latin American Writers, among others, at the Pontificia Universidad Catolica Madre y Maestra in the Dominican Republic. All of her courses will be taught in advanced Spanish.
"I hope participating as an international student in the Dominican Republic will allow me to blossom into the young woman I aspire to be, shaping my identity as a global citizen and a leader in my communities. My Spanish is bound to improve along with my understanding of the Dominican people, culture, cuisine, and opportunities available to them. This improvement and connection will allow me to strengthen my roots and further develop who I am, what I want to do, who I want to be, and where I want to go," said Vargas.
Vargas, also a spoken-word poet, spent ten days in Germany last spring with the Hip Hop Re:Education Project. The experience was transformative, sparking a newfound passion for travel. Last summer, she volunteered in Peru with the Experiential Learning Abroad Program.
"I hope the blue in the Dominican Republic's sky and the shine in the stars slows down time a little for me to inhale and appreciate every aspect, opportunity, and person who has helped shape the person I am today," she added.
The Gilman Scholarship Program aims to diversify the kinds of students who study abroad and the countries and regions where they go. The program is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and administered by the Institute of International Education (IIE) in Houston, Texas.
Read more about Yolandri Vargas in the fall 2012 issue of PURCHASE Magazine feature story "Rising Sophomores, Rising Stars."