Wednesday, August 9, 2017
Two Siena Saints have been awarded Gilman Scholarships for the upcoming fall 2017 semester. Biology major Chantalle Durr ’18, will be traveling to South Korea and Sasha Bentley '18, will be studying in Costa Rica.
Since the spring of 2011, 29 Siena students have been awarded Gilman Scholarships; this represents over $97,000 in scholarship funds to help our students study abroad.
Sponsored by the U.S. Department of State and administered through the Institute of International Education, the Gilman Scholarship Program offers awards for undergraduate study abroad and was established by the International Academic Opportunity Act of 2000. The Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship is one of the most prestigious study abroad scholarships available to U.S. students today.
Durr’s interest in Korean culture began at a young age. When she was 15 years old she stumbled upon a Korean music video on YouTube. Entranced by the catchy beat, videography effects and visuals of the video, Durr immediately fell in love with the genre of music. From then on, Durr was fascinated with the Korean culture, eventually picking up phrases in the Korean language.
While studying in Seoul at Yonsei University, Durr will take courses in philosophy, physiology and religion, as well as the Korean language.
“I feel extremely grateful to have received the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship,” said Durr. “Going to South Korea has been a dream of mine since my sophomore year in high school; so being able to go for the first semester of my senior year in college is amazing. This scholarship will be a great in aiding me to live out my dream- it will help for things like textbooks and meals and transportation around the city of Seoul and other areas.”
Bentley’s journey to Costa Rica will seem a world away from her home in the Bronx, NY. When it came time to begin looking at countries and programs to apply to, Bentley knew she wanted to go somewhere out of her element.
“I wanted a country where I’d experience the most all around growth. ‘Pura Vida’- this phrase exemplifies why Costa Rica was the choice for me. I value change, inclusivity and sustainability,” said Bentley.
During her time in Loudonville, Bentley has created a relationship with Siena’s Damietta Cross Cultural Center. She works as an advocate, creating programs and initiatives that help incite change and promote inclusivity. While in Costa Rica, she will take the course, “Diversity and Sexual Identity in Latin America.”
“Social identities come up a lot in conversation and I believe it'll be an eye-opening experience learning how different social identities are perceived outside of the United States. Reading definitely is a fundamental way to conduct research, but engulfing myself in the culture itself is much more engaging.”
Durr and Bentley are just two of Siena’s students studying abroad in the Fall semester. From Siena, Italy and Zanzibar, Tanzania to London England and Athens, Greece, our Saints will spend their semesters learning, exploring and embracing the culture of their host countries.