Raj N. Patel
Raj N. Patel

SAN FRANCISCO (Diya TV) — Raj N. Patel, a junior honors student interdisciplinary studies at Arkansas State University, has been selected in a scholarship program which rewards students from 140 different universities to receive the prestigious Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship, which is sponsored by U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

The award allows students to study or intern abroad during the 2016 summer session.

Patel has elected to use the award to study abroad during the school’s summer program at Saitama University in Japan. After he’s completed his interdisciplinary studies, Patel plans to attend grad school with a focus in physical therapy, according to a press release.

“What I hope to learn in Japan expands beyond simply the language and their culture, although these are certainly significant factors,” Patel said.  “I hope to acquire the tools of adapting to a completely different culture and language as well as a broader mindset . . . and an increased tolerance and understanding of things that are dramatically different from what I already know or have experienced.”

Gilman scholars receive up to $5,000 to apply towards the study of their choosing, or internship program costs. The program aims to diversify students who go abroad and the countries and regions in which they go. The scholarship provides students with the unique opportunity to gain a better understanding of other cultures, countries, economies and languages, with the ultimate goal of better preparing them to assume leadership roles within governments and the private sector.

The award is named in honor of a former congressman, Benjamin Gilman, who retired in 2002, after serving in the House of Representatives for three decades, and charing the House Foreign Relations Committee.

“Studying abroad is a special experience for every student who participates,” Gilman said. “Living and learning in a vastly different environment of another nation not only exposes our students to alternate views, but also adds an enriching social and cultural experience.”