Gilman Scholar Spends a Semester in Argentina

(LEBANON, Ill., November 19, 2018) — McKendree University senior Emma Mooneyham will return soon from Argentina not only more fluent in Spanish but also more self-reliant and confident. She received a prestigious Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, to study at the Universidad de Belgrano in Buenos Aires. The biopsychology major, religious studies minor from Fort Worth, Texas, was one of 835 American undergraduate students from 310 U.S. colleges and universities selected to study or intern abroad during the fall semester.

“I have always wanted to travel and see the world. Living abroad taught me that I can do anything independently and I will be just fine,” said Mooneyham, McKendree’s fourth Gilman Scholar. With her cell phone service limited to café Wi-Fi, she quickly learned to rely on paper maps to navigate the subway, train and bus routes of the world’s 12th largest city. She enjoyed the cosmopolitan capital’s many free museums and festivals, and traveled to Uruguay with fellow students.

Gilman Scholars receive up to $5,000 to apply towards their study abroad or internship program costs with additional funding available for the study of a critical language overseas. The scholarship supports undergraduate students of limited financial means to study or intern abroad, emphasizing countries and regions where fewer Americans traditionally study.

“I applied for the Gilman because it sounded challenging and it would provide the funding that I needed in order to live abroad,” said Mooneyham, a resident assistant at McKendree who has worked to put herself through school. “Receiving the Gilman meant I could truly live my dream of studying abroad without the financial stress of worrying about how to fund my trip.”

The program is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and is supported in its implementation by the Institute of International Education. The late Congressman Gilman, for whom the scholarship is named, served in the House of Representatives for 30 years and chaired the House Foreign Relations Committee.

“Living and learning in a vastly different environment of another nation not only exposes our students to alternate views, but adds an enriching social and cultural experience,” he said in 2002, when honored with the Secretary of State’s Distinguished Service Medal. “It also provides our students with the opportunity to return home with a deeper understanding of their place in the world, encouraging them to be a contributor, rather than a spectator in the international community.”

After she graduates, Mooneyham plans to apply to be a Peace Corps volunteer, with a long-term career goal to become an American Red Cross field nurse.


Emma Mooneyham in Argentina

McKendree University senior Emma Mooneyham visited the beautiful Basilica of Our Lady of Luján in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where she studied this fall.