Students use scholarships for study in Cartagena

In April 2018, the U.S. State Department announced that three Sewanee students were selected to receive Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarships to study abroad this summer. Two of the students, Esmerelda Trevino and Asyjia Brown, both C’20, spent five weeks in Cartagena, Colombia, to study Spanish and Colombian culture as part of the new Sewanee-in-Cartagena Program. The third student, Dillon Spann, also C’20, will take part in an immersive Arabic language program in Morocco. Trevino is pursuing a major in International and Global Studies as well as a certificate in Civic and Global Leadership. Spann has declared a major in International and Global Studies. Brown is a double major in Biology and Spanish.

Gilman Scholars receive up to $5,000 to apply toward their study abroad program costs, with additional funding available for the study of a critical language overseas. The Gilman Scholarship provides financial support for American undergraduate students to study or intern abroad and since 2001 has enabled more than 25,000 outstanding students of diverse backgrounds to engage in a meaningful educational experience abroad. 

Another student in Cartagena this summer, Hayden Everett, C’21, posted this about the experience:

“The first two and a half weeks in Cartagena have been filled with incredible opportunities to learn about the rich history and culture of Colombia. We can watch the ideas we discuss in class come to life as we explore the city’s various historic sites. We have seen a remarkable collection of artifacts of the Zenú people at the Gold Museum, sampled Colombian cuisine in restaurants throughout Cartagena, connected with local students, and ventured through shops and streets within the Walled City. We have also learned about Latin American dance styles and prepared traditional Colombian food. Living in Cartagena has allowed us to immerse ourselves in the Spanish language and acquire a deeper understanding of it. 

“Our host families are all wonderful and exceedingly patient with us as we strive for greater fluency, and getting to know them has been an immense pleasure. Along with learning the history and culture of Colombia, we have enjoyed the country’s abundant natural beauty. We visited Playa Tranquila, a gorgeous beach on the island of Barú. Yesterday, we worked with Amigos del Mar, a foundation which provides educational support to economically disadvantaged children on the island of Tierra Bomba. Seeing the compassion and dedication of the members of this organization was truly inspiring. Interacting with the people and sites of Cartagena has been a valuable learning experience, one for which we are all immensely grateful.”

(Photo of Colombian flag by Flavia Carpio on Unsplash)