The Benjamin A. Gilman Scholarship is accepting applicants to represent the U.S. in various countries around the world. Brandon Higa, the campus advisor for the scholarship program, studied abroad in Kyōto, Japan during his college years. (Photo courtesy of Brandon Higa)

By Cameron Enomoto | Staff Writer

Studying abroad has many upsides and students around the world dream of traveling while pursuing an education. However, financing this experience is a completely different story.

The Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program is accepting applications for the next group of students to represent the U.S. overseas. The scholarship supports study abroad from Summer 2022 through Spring 2023 and includes both virtual and in-person opportunities. Those who apply will compete nationwide for a limited number of scholarships for up to $5,000, or $8,000 for critical languages like Arabic, Japanese, and Chinese (Mandarin). Kapiʻolani applicants have an advantage over other students because they are applying from a minority-serving industry (MSI), and there are a low number of Gilman recipients from Hawaiʻi.

All applications, which require 3 essays and a transcript, are due on Tuesday, March 1 at 9:59 p.m. Hawai‘i time. To submit an application, please visit this link.

Students who are interested can visit the Benjamin A. Gilman Scholarship website for more information.

Study abroad opportunities are an excellent way to represent the U.S. as a citizen diplomat and interact with others who may not know about Hawaiʻi.

“It’s a great way to see the world from your perspective,” said Brandon Higa, the campus advisor for the scholarship program. “Personally, I found studying abroad to be life changing. Living in Japan helped me to gain advanced proficiency in Japanese through immersive experiences that would otherwise be impossible to achieve from textbooks.”

The Gilman program is highly regarded and can help a student build credentials early and open doors to future opportunities. 

Once certified as a Gilman scholar, students will be able to choose where they would like to study, provided that there are no Covid restrictions and the host country is accepting students from the U.S. Unlike previous years, students will also have the opportunity to participate in a virtual study abroad program without having to go overseas. However, students will be expected to adjust their sleep schedule to attend online classes and keep up with the coursework.

“This program can work for certain people, though the immersive experience is absent with the online aspect,” said Higa.

For those who would like to participate in an overseas experience, applying to a country that has its borders closed is permitted as long as the borders re-open for foreign students by the time the program begins.

To qualify for the Benjamin A. Gilman Scholarship, applicants must be U.S. citizens, undergraduate students in good standing, the recipient of the Federal Pell Grant during the application period or while abroad, in the process of applying or accepted to a study abroad internship program for academic credits, and the duration of the study abroad should be at least two weeks.

Students are also encouraged to apply for an additional $2,000 from CIEE and Chancellor Louise Pagotto’s scholarship, Queen Kapiʻolani International Travel Scholars Endowed Fund. For any additional questions about the Benjamin A. Gilman Scholarship or studying abroad, email Higa at