Sophomore Erika Cain is awarded a Gilman Scholarship and receives Lesley’s first Scholars without Borders grant
Thursday, February 28, 2013
Cain also won a grant from the competitive Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholars Program, both of which are making it possible for her to spend the spring semester studying and volunteering in Kolkata, India, with the International Partnership for Service Learning.
In addition to helping students cover the cost of study abroad, the broader goal of the Scholars without Borders program is to promote the development of a community of global scholars at Lesley. Cain, who is an Elementary Education and Creative Writing major, has made it clear that, on this trip, she does not want to live within her comfort zone, “because that isn’t really living at all.” She began her adventure with the understanding that she would have a lot to adjust to, such as having a limited supply of clean, safe drinking water, and living in a city that is 50 times more populated then Cambridge.
The Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program, which is funded by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State, supports passionate undergraduates who wish to develop their global identities in nontraditional study-abroad destinations. This semester, Cain is attending Loreto College, an all-girls Catholic school, and taking classes in religion, language, and culture.
As part of the Gilman prize, Cain must complete a follow-up service project, for which she is planning a raffle of art that she’ll bring back from her trip. The event will showcase the unique culture in which she studied and the organization, Shishu Bhavam, where she is currently volunteering with disabled children, as well as the Gilman scholarship and Lesley’s study abroad program. She will also collect food and clothing to send back to Kolkata. She hopes that the impact of her time in India will be apparent when educating others about the need for service in the country.
According to the Gilman Program, “such international study is intended to better prepare U.S. students to assume significant roles in an increasingly global economy and interdependent world.” As a student studying education, Cain is excited to learn more about the government, language, history and art of India and share that information with students in her current and future field placements.
Cain sees this trip as an opportunity to change lives in India for the better, and also to transform her own life and return with confidence and independence that she will take with her into a life and career of service.
“Erika’s comments reflect the richness of the study abroad experience,” says Claire Carroll, director of study abroad at Lesley. “While abroad, students learn a lot about themselves as well as the geographic locations they visit. This combination of reflexive learning and acquisition of fundamental knowledge benefits not only the student but the entire Lesley community when students return to campus to share their experiences with their classmates and professors.”
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