Brooklyn, N.Y.—Sophomore Jordan Abettan isn’t certain what he wants to study or pursue as a career, but he knows one thing for sure: He’s planning to have a ball next academic year when he heads to Paris as an exchange student, partly on the dime of the U.S. State Department.
Abettan scored $2,500 for his trip from the prestigious Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program, which is managed by the State Department’s Bureau of Cultural Affairs.
“Paris is the hub of everything,” says Abettan, who is leaning toward studying either education or medicine. “In terms of culture, it’s insane. The education there is great. The public university system is beyond great.”
Abettan, who already speaks French, will study at one of 13 Parisian universities that participate in the New York–Paris Exchange Program, which is jointly run by the City University of New York and the Paris universities, including the Sorbonne.
“I’m ecstatic,” says Abettan, who is working at a youth camp this summer in order to save money for his trip. “If it weren’t for this scholarship, I don’t think I would have been able to go abroad.”
The scholarship program was founded in order to help U.S. undergraduate students who want to study abroad but lack the financial means to do so. The competitive program is funded by Congress and this year is sending more than 2,300 students abroad.
Abettan is the 11th Brooklyn College student to be named a Gilman Scholar, and the only one who will go abroad during the 2012–13 academic year. There were seven students from the City University of New York who won the scholarship for the upcoming academic year.